Food Swap! (video)

Canned elk anyone?

The summer’s harvest is long over. Hours spent near a hot stove canning those tomatoes, peaches, or pickling beets are but a memory. As many of of us approach the depths of winter, perhaps we might look at our homemade goods with a yearning for something different, something new to taste or to experience from someone else’s pantry! Have you thought about a food swap?

Mutual friends, Bethany Rydmark and Emily Pastor, have put considerable thought into the idea, and through Sustainable Food for Thought, a blog geared toward sharing information on ways of living a sustainable lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest, used it as a platform to excite interest, and organize their first food swap event.

Portland Food Swappers Examine Handcrafted Goods to Barter

“A Food Swap is part silent auction/part village marketplace/part fun-loving open house where your homemade creations (breads, preserves, special concoctions, canned goods, etc.) become your own personal currency for use in swapping with other participants.” It’s an open exchange and barter— no financial currency is allowed— of ones own unique treasure troves of canned, and prepared foods, and other handcrafted goods.

Rydmark and Pastor had heard about food swaps by way of the internet and wanted to put together one for their community in Portland. They found a location at a new neighborhood retail business (Branch & Birdie), set a date, and put out the word.

The result was an evening of fun, and new discoveries as about 30 people brought 32 types of handcrafted goods, ranging from canned peaches, raw honey, cherry liqueur, to canned wild elk (you thought I was kidding?). As this was the first local event of its kind in Portland, a couple other cities have held past local food swaps, many people arrived not sure what they might find. As the video clearly shows, there was tremendous enthusiasm by those involved, and most of the goods on display were successfully exchanged.

Asked if they were considering doing another food swap in the near future, Ms. Rydmark responded, “The short answer is hopefully yes. There is such desire the community for opportunities to connect and share resources and inspiration. We’ve received nothing but encouragement for this, and in the short month since the swap, the new PDXSwappers Facebook Page has already gained several new members who are interested in participating in coming events.” There have also been requests for information from other cities across the country, and ideas being proposed for possibly expanding the types of items available for swap but Rydmark says she has no immediate plans for another swap.

Some photos photo the event:

Food Swap- Looking On

Food Swap- Crowd In Attendance

Food Swap-Food Products

For those who might wish to carry on the torch, Rydmark and Pastor sent us the following resource links to help set up a food swap in your community.

Feel free to contact them for additional information; they are into it!

For more Information on throwing your own food swap, and the first Portland Food Swap:
Sustainable Food For Thought
Original Blog Notice
Additional photos, and thanks.
Follow Up Question for Bethany and Emily: sustainablefoodforthought(at)

On Facebook:
BK Swappers (Brooklyn, New York)
ATX Swappers (Austin, Texas)
PDX Swappers (Portland, Oregon)
MPLS Swappers (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
LAX Swappers (Los Angeles)
BAH Swappers (Houston metro)


  1. Kerry Johnson says

    Love this idea of swapping food! Didn’t know there is a food swap in New York! I will visit the BK food swap very soon.
    I am a big fan of swapping in general. On yard sales I always try to barter clothes or books. A few weeks ago I came across the website where you can swap goods, services and real estate. I already bartered some kids clothes!

    • says

      This is so cool, Emily – and congrats!! I think this will be a hit with the long growing seasons and the large interest in canning, food preservation, and home crafted foods in the LAX area.

      Best of luck with it – I ‘liked’ your FB page and look forward to seeing you guys grow! And thanks for letting us know…made my day, for sure. =)

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