Who We Are
The STL Food Swap was established in 2011. We are a group of home cooks, bakers, gardeners, canners, preservers, fermenters, and foragers who periodically meet to barter our homemade (from scratch), homegrown, and foraged foodstuffs. If the idea of sharing good food and good company while gaining inspiration and supporting our local community is something which piques your interest, this might be a group for you!
How It Works
How to Prepare for the Swap
Prepare your item(s) using the highest sanitation standards and package them in portions that will be easy to trade and which make sense, such as loaves or mini-loaves of bread, a dozen cookies, a half-dozen muffins, or half-pints, pints, or quarts of jarred items, keeping in mind that people will want to handle and inspect your offerings. Please make sure everything is labeled and plan to set some product aside to use for sampling during the swap.
Print and fill out your bid sheets. You will need one sheet for each type of item you plan to bring. For example, if you are bringing five jars of strawberry jam and five jars of pickles, you will need to fill out one sheet for the jam and one sheet for the pickles. Bid sheets are available for download here.
What to Expect at the Swap
Food swap events typically last about 2 hours. During the first 30 minutes or so, swappers will set up their wares and the host will make announcements, then we’ll spend the next hour socializing and sampling the foods. Finally, we swap!
Participants assume the risk in consuming foods that were prepared in a home kitchen, grown or raised at home, or foraged. Use your best judgement, but don’t be afraid.
Food is our currency and no money changes hands. Oftentimes, items are swapped one-for-one but if your item was expensive or time-consuming to make, don’t be afraid to ask for what you think is appropriate… bartering does include a fair amount of bargaining skills. Similarly, participants should not feel obligated to accept an item which they find unappealing. Food preferences vary widely from one person to the next and a rejection of your product should not be taken personally.
What Happens After the Swap
After the swap, excess produce may be donated to the Bevo Shares project. Beneficiaries of Bevo Shares include Bevo Long Middle School, Oak Hill Elementary School, City Seniors Inc., Jubilee Church, Haven Street Ministry at The Connection, and Feed My Peeps.
And of course, we haul our bounty home to enjoy! Please feel free to post photos from the swap or photos of the products you enjoy to the Facebook page or tweet them to @STLFoodSwap using the hashtag #STLFoodSwap. Let’s show St. Louis what we love about this group!