This article was published today in the Press Telegram, thanks a lot everybody.
Food swap is fresh start for Wrigley
Article Launched: 07/13/2008 10:13:31 PM PDT
A garden produce swap previously practiced on Wrigley residents' porches has moved to Veterans Park in Long Beach. The "Wrigley Neighborhood Food Exchange" preceded the July 7 Wrigley Association meeting and will continue the first Monday of every month. In a scene reminiscent of an old trading post, Wrigley District residents recently swapped food from their gardens at Veterans Park. The effort aimed at building community spirit, providing relief from high food prices and reducing waste took place before the July 7 Wrigley Association meeting and will continue the first Monday of every month at the park. About 10 residents, who were informed about the gathering by newsletter and blog, showed up to share fruits, vegetables, herbs and seeds. Some walked away with fresh oregano and green tomatoes, others chard and parsley. Though the event was the first official "Wrigley Neighborhood Food Exchange," residents in the 2-square-mile neighborhood bounded by the Los Angeles River, Long Beach Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway and the San Diego (405) Freeway, had been informally sharing harvests of lemon, thyme, pineapple, sage and other edibles for awhile. "We've done a lot of casual trading, mostly on my porch," said resident Sasha Kanno, who promoted the exchange online. "We just leave them or ride bicycles with the baskets, and we'll just cruise around the neighborhood and drop off and pick up stuff." One of the attractions of swapping food is knowing from where it came - neighbors. Sometimes the produce falls from trees on public property, but most of the items are overflow from residents' yards. "It's mainly to see things not go to waste," said Gavin McKiernan, a member of the Wrigley Association board. "My daughter's growing tomatoes now in the back with my wife ... I love tomatoes, but there's no way we're going to go through them all." Or, as Kanno put it, "When the produce is ready, you need to go for it" before it spoils. Internet trading will continue between the monthly gatherings for that reason. "People just e-mail, `I've got lemons,"' McKiernan said. Bringing the event to the park was also intended to boost attendance at the Wrigley Association meetings. The group has 260 paying members, making it one of the largest of its kind in the city. The atmosphere at the swap was described as casual and friendly, not a place for hard-nosed haggling. "You bring what you got, and if somebody else has what you want, you work it out from there," McKiernan said. When residents have little or no food to bring, they can take items home as long as they give back in the future. "It doesn't have to be an even exchange," Kanno said. "You can go on the honor system, and basically I am not keeping score." The next food exchange will take place at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Veterans Park, 101 E. 28th St. The Wrigley Association meeting will follow at 7 p.m. For information, visit chalkboardco-op.blogspot.com. firstname.lastname@example.org