Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why Fruit Exchange?

Inspired by years of musing over this idea and the project detailed at Forage Oakland, Alameda Fruit Exchange is a practice and a project designed to knit together community through sharing of home-grown edible fruits and food -- a way to strengthen both the ties between people and deepen our connection to food.

Are you dealing with what feels like an overload of citrus? Later in the year, do your trees cover your yard with more fruit than you know what to do with: mountains of apples, floods of plums, an abundance of apricots? Join Alameda Fruit Exchange and participate in community building. Stop wasting food!
Whether you have too much or too little, Alameda Fruit Exchange is a way to build community and end the waste of the bounty of fruit growing in Alameda’s yards. Trade your autumn walnuts for your neighbor’s summer plums. You get connections all over town – one member’s persimmons become the line to another’s Santa Rosa plums, and on to someone else’s olives. If you don’t just want other fruit back, we can preserve it or teach you how. Don’t have fruit? Trade your harvesting or jam-making skills for a share.

How does it work? If you have fruit in your yard, and want to offer some or all, sign up over on the sidebar and let us know, absolutely free. Volunteers will pick as little or as much as you want and then list the fruit as “available” to other members.

Eventually, we’ll turn big excess into jams, chutneys, and marmalades. We’ll offer food-preservation workshops, so that skills will become tradeable as well as food. When other fruit is in season, you get to share in that bounty.

Join at no cost, and reap the benefits of Alameda’s rich diversity of homegrown food, build connections with one another, and prevent the waste of locally-grown produce.


Julia Park Tracey said...

I love it. I'm in, and will be glad to post it in the Sun as well.

Julia, jam-makin' mama

Alicia said...

Stefani, this is awesome! I've thought about this idea as well... So many fruit trees... I know so much of it gets wasted. We have plums, apples, and quinces and we can never use them all. I also learned about the Forage Oakland blog in the chronicle the other day. Very, very neat. If you ever need help with anything let me know!


Leila Abu-Saba said...

I am interested in an informal version of this in the Laurel, Oakland; however I have to explore your links to see what's already happening. We are talking in my neighborhood of getting together to can excess fruit - make jams etc.

I will be searching Forage Oakland, and I'll stay in touch with you to find out about your canning/preserving workshops. My grandmother and mother canned back in the 70s, and I made plum jam one year which I sealed up with paraffin. Want to feel confident about preserving the jam though.

Does anybody make preserved lemons (Moroccan-style)?

My late father used to forage olives in Alameda and brine them, but he didn't really have the recipe right - he was too stubborn to research it and his memory of how to do it was like 50 years old, from his childhood; so the olives were just way too bitter. But I would like to brine olives in the fall.