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How to trade for local, homemade treats: LA Food Swap

Consider yourself a fine cook and sustainable foodie? Sign up for the LA Food Swap — for a chance to taste and take home homemade, homegrown, and foraged treats made by your neighbors and show off your own delicious creations — free.

LA Food Swap is a bit like Artisanal LA, the seasonal event showcasing local, artisanal treats — except at LA Food Swap every attendee is also a local culinary creator, and no money exchanges hands. Every couple months, swappers get together at a meeting spot with their homegrown, handmade, and foraged treats in tow. There, each swapper gets to check out what everyone else is offering, writing down bids for potential trades. Once the bids are in, swapping begins in earnest.

The last swap happened last weekend at Reform School in Silver Lake. “Sunday’s food swap was incredible with such a diversity of homemade, homegrown, and foraged foods,” says Emily Ho, a sustainable foodie and founder of LA Food Swap. “Bread and butter, ginger and elderflower cordials, foraged mulberry jam, kumquat frozen yogurt, s’mores kits with homemade graham crackers and marshmallows, nasturtium capers, granola, beautiful fresh herbs… you name it!”

Emily says she was inspired to start LA Food Swap this January after learning about similar events in Portland. In the five months since, Emily’s not only organized two formal swaps, but also hosted a more popular swap table at local community initiative GOOD LA’s launch event last month — where I stopped by to sign up for LA Food Swap’s email list and sample some delicious spicy brownies brought by a swapper.

LA Food Swaps have been wildly popular. The two events so far filled up in advance with would-be swappers — and inspired a bunch of new local food swaps. PasadenaSan Fernando Valley, and Ventura County now all each have their own food swaps, with meetups coming up next month.

“I’m continually amazed by the talent, and more importantly the community spirit, that emerges at the swaps,” says Ho. “It’s one of the most positive things I have ever experienced.”

See the delicious photos from the first swap at LA Food Swap’s own blog and at LAist. Hungry for more? Sign up for LA Food Swap’s email list to find out about the next event, a backyard potluck event expected to happen in July.

Photo: An LA Food Swap in March (Roberta Romero/Flickr)