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Bainbridge Barter Brings Back Food-Sharing Tradition

When my friend Liesl Clark started talking about a barter group for Bainbridge, I knew she was on to something great. I've been a fan of bartering since the day way back sometime during the 70's, when my dad hauled a load of our wine grapes to a barter fair at the Island Center Community Hall and returned with three feisty geese. The idea of starting up a group for islanders to share and swap the bounty of our gardens and kitchens sounded wonderful to me, and I was guessing it would appeal to others, too.

Some of us can grow amazing kale but don't do well with berries, some of us are lucky enough to have the sun for tomatoes, some of us actually can't manage to grow zucchini (ahem). In short, few of us have the space and varied sunlight for a wide variety of crops in our home gardens. What if we each grew what our very local backyard microclimates supported best, knowing we could trade our surplus with our neighbors, whose green thumbs reap a different harvest?

Enter Bainbridge Barter and our weekly Garden Variety Potluck in the Park. We'll be meeting in Waterfront Park on Saturday mornings at 10 am to share garden and home kitchen bounty, leaving us all time to head straight to the Bainbridge Farmers' Market to fill our larders with local food for the coming week.

Instead of one-to-one bartering, with the ensuing haggling and lingering doubts about fair value, we run this like a potluck. Bring a basketful of whatever you have in excess, we arrange it all on a picnic table, then we all choose what we'd like to take home and fill our baskets back up again. All leftovers will be taken forthwith to Helpline to spread the bounty ever further into the community. Offerings at recent potlucks have included a wide variety of goods: Freshly-baked challah and rolls, home-cultured yogurt, a wide variety of freshly cut herbs and greens, eggs from backyard hens, home-made zero-waste toothpaste, hot pepper jelly, freshly packed kimchi, strawberries, peas, bouquets of flowers, and perennial starts. Potluck participants have been leaving happy,  and more than one person has gone on record as feeling like they were taking home better than they brought - That's the beauty of bartering, potluck in the park style!
Please join us each Saturday at 10 am in Waterfront Park for the first Garden Variety Potluck in the Park. More information and answers to your questions available via our blog.
In between potlucks, local exchanges can be arranged via The Backyard Garden Barter and Exchange Group's site at BigTent


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