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Trade You My Extra Zucchini for Some of Your Bok Choy!

Although the farmers’ market report sometimes makes me miss California so much it brings tears to my eyes, I love listening to podcasts of Evan Kleiman’s intelligent and eclectic show Good Food on KCRW.

A recent episode featured a discussion with Hynden Walch (a voice actor behind such animated characters as Starfire in the animated series Teen Titans) about the community produce cooperative she started in her Glassel Park neighborhood. Her frequent walks past properties with trees yielding more fruit than any one family could deal with inspired her to start a free monthly produce exchange to redistribute the bounty of the community’s yards and gardens. Once a month, she takes drop-offs from people with something to give, and the next day redistributes the combined haul in paper bags to whatever neighbors have signed up, whether or not they’ve been able to contribute anything that month. The neighborhood harvest includes oranges, tangerines, persimmons, plums, olives, kumquats, passion fruit and and figs, as well as plenty of fresh herbs, kale, chard, tomatoes, potatoes … Well, it’s California <sigh>.

But now that spring is here in Vermont, I’m thinking this might work in my neighborhood, too. Informally, it happens already, of course, but I like how this extends the network beyond immediate neighbors to people around the block, too. If you want to start a chapter in your neighborhood, you can email Hynden for advice at hillsideproducecooperative@yahoo.com.

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