On March 25, Green Dean's Crop Swap will turn one year old, and like any one year old it’s pretty independent. It’s walking and talking on its own. It’s developed a healthy interest both in and from the outside world, and it’s got a mind of its own. But it still needs some care, guidance and help to grow into a productive healthy member of society. It can’t remain a baby all its life.
What I’m most pleased about is that crop swaps now run themselves. If Min and I were away, it would be so easy for a regular attendee to come in, set up morning tea, a prearranged guest speaker come in and give a presentation, and everything run smoothly without me here. That’s both a relief for me, as I may be away more often, and because, at its heart, it is a community event – run by and for the community – those who attend.
Initially I asked for the community’s help by just coming along, to get it off the ground, which happened over a year. We have grown in numbers. Together, we have achieved a lot of goals. Attendance, interest, produce shared and swapped, and general support is nothing to be sneezed at. I would now like to help Green Dean's Crop Swap grow a little more, without force, to go to the next level, whatever that may be. As host, I have some ideas and goals, but ultimately a project’s growth is determined by the community and members’ backing of those ideas and goals.
So here’s what I’ve got in mind, in no particular order. Let me know what you think.
- I’d like to value-add to each crop swap, such as offering a few more little things to make the mornings even more special and worth attending, such as starting the mornings with tai chi sessions (which we started doing this year), having seasonal related foods available at each crop swap, eg. warm soup on autumn and winter mornings, and having a fire burning to warm up on cold mornings (as we did last year). Do any or all of these interest you?
- I’d like to invite and encourage more people who attend the crop swaps to prearrange swaps with others online – openly or privately – to share and swap things of personal value and function to them. Are you interested in doing that more?
- I’d like to invite and encourage everyone who attends crop swaps to cook, make or grow something a little extra, a little different, with a view to swapping more specifically with those who have something of equal perceived value. I also like and encourage the value of the stories behind the produce you bring. I’d like to start experimenting with some different ways to share and swap our respective produce and goods – both for fairer swapping and for educational purposes. Who’s able to do this?
- I’d like to invite along even more guest speakers, with a wide range of interesting topics to present each month. If you have something interesting you’d like to share, or know someone who does, we’d love to hear from you. It’s a great way to promote your business, group or produce.
- I invite, encourage and challenge everyone out there to kickstart their own crop swaps – however regular, when and wherever you can, and whatever you call it. Crop swaps can be held in homes, front or back yards, parks, community gardens, streets, anywhere! They can be part of businesses, organisations, teams, groups, clubs or just private homes. If you need support to start a crop swap, I’d be very happy to assist you. If holding a crop swap excites you, even a little, what do you think prevents you from kicking one off?
A few individuals and groups have taken up the challenge and already run their own crop swaps, with plans to run more. Lee Yeomans ran a crop swap from her home with good attendance. Logan Food Gardeners are also about to run their second crop swap. Well done to these motivated people. The ripple affect from these events is more far reaching than we can imagine.
Basically, the current crop swaps don’t have to be a whole new dish. I just want to add some spice to them, to create a little more energy that may have a farther reaching impact on those who attend, those who support it online and in other ways, on the community and on the urban farming and permaculture movement.
If you regularly attend the crop swap, or plan to this year, I would love your support for the above ideas and goals. Please provide any feedback you may have about these points and how you may be able to help. You’re welcome to contact me on Facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch up with me in person at a future event.
Sincere thanks, Green Dean