Trading and bartering for food – a lost practice??

I’ve always found great merit in the trade-and-barter system of old. In my opinion, money only serves as a means to an end. You don’t need money, you just need it to buy things. Everything. It has no real value. I understand its pragmatic use in modern society, mind you, but I don’t necessarily feel it’s appropriate in all cases. One such case is when it comes to food. Not until I moved to the country did I really start to get a feel for this. Neighbors would bring us huge bags of squash, okra, lettuce, or whatever else they had in surplus. Once we began raising chickens, we started giving them fresh eggs. Since they don’t raise chickens, it was a welcome trade for them! I really got to liking this system and now try to perpetuate it as much as possible.

There is a kindly older lady that lives next door. While she remains fairly independent, it’s to be expected that she’ll have difficulty with certain tasks. My husband started cutting her grass for her, particularly on very hot days where her sweet little sun hat might not cut it. She just so happens to have two enormous blueberry bushes, from which she graciously allows me to pick whenever I want. She doesn’t spray her bushes, so I know I am getting 100% fresh, organic berries, which are hard to find (and/or expensive). While she expects nothing in return, I always make sure to give her something. Whether it’s eggs, or seasonal homegrown produce like figs, cucumbers, or melons, she is so appreciative of that gesture.

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So many blueberries!

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A small segment of the prolific bushes next door!

 

 

 

Recently, a woman I play soccer with offered to bring me some of her squash, cucumbers, and jalapenos. Who was I to refuse? I happily came home from my game last week with a bag full of fresh produce. This week, she’s supposed to give me tomatoes. This is perfect, because mine aren’t ready yet. In exchange, what is she getting? Some of those amazing blueberries! See — I’m paying it forward!

You can save money this way, too. Not only are you avoiding having to buy such things at the store, you are giving AND getting back! You could almost make a club out of it — each person grows certain things, and then you trade for what your friends have. It’s kind of like having your own personal co-op. Everyone wins! Not sure how to start? Spy on your neighbors and see what they’re growing (in a legal way, of course!). Then, offer to trade them for something you’ve grown……or even trade for a service! Maybe the older gentleman next door grows tomatoes and also seems to need help with gardening. I’d bet he would be more than happy to give you some of those ‘maters if you pull some weeds for him. You never know.

Swap with everyone you know, and help me bring back the trade-and-barter movement!

One response

  1. Wow, your sunflower looks good enough to eat–ha! Haven’t clicked on “In My Garden” yet
    but hoping you are getting some tomatoes by now. We have had two, the first pretty
    good and the second delicious, in spite of being badly split so I threw out half of it.
    Also still buying big tomatoes from the produce stand and using lots of tomatoes in
    cooking. Last night I cooked shrimp scampi [that means lots of garlic, right?] with fresh
    parsley, oregano, thyme and tomatoes, a big splash of pinot grigio and some torn
    basil leaves at serving time. Delicious! We had bought two pounds of shrimp from a
    local man who runs a stand across from the strawberry farm near us, so tonight I’m making shrimp stir-fry with ginger, garlic, onion and a variety of vegs.
    including bok choy, mung bean sprouts, carrots, celery, sugar snaps, and shitakis.

    All this in spite of the fact that I’m in no mood to do anything, missing my baby and
    his mother so much.
    Love to all you Maxwells and call me soon,
    MUM

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