Most of us have heard of clothing swaps, haven’t we? The idea of swapping clothes has gained popularity worldwide in the last years. And not without reason I would say! It is a fun option to get rid of your clothes and find new treasures at the same time. So, why not applying this idea to food? Instead of swapping clothes one swaps food. As easy as this. Just like the saying “clothing swaps are so yesterday“ I participated in my first food swap this weekend at the Green Stories in Malmö.
What is a food swap?
When I stumbled across the concept of a food swap I did not know what I could expect from such an event. But it basically means that you bring home made products, such as cookies, muffins, marmalade, pickled veggies or granola and swap it with another person’s products. In order to let the food swap not ending up in a chaos, the initiators of structure of the food swap I participated in further down.
How to find a food swap?
Food swaps can easily be found online on Facebook. I found the food swap event in Malmö via Facebook as well. As I haven’t heard of food swaps before I got very curious about the whole idea when reading more about it. And since I love clothing swaps I thought that this could really be my thing. So I contacted Charlotta Holmström Ortiz (her friends just call her Lotta): An extremely likeable foodie with her own vegetarian food blog (www.veggietown.net) and one of the three female coordinators of the food swap in Malmö. Before Paula Rooth and Therese Arvidsson joined the organization team of the food swap, Lotta actually was the one that came up with the idea of starting to organize a food swap in Malmö. Lotta told me that she read about the concept of food swaps and got really interested in it. But when she was looking for one in Malmö she did not find one. Therefore, she took the initiative and started a food swap herself. This was back in December 2015. At that time the first food swap started with a couple of friends at Lotta’s home. Since then the food swap is organized regularly every 2-3 months in the city centre of Malmö at different locations. This time the food swap was organized in a cute shop called Green Stories. This shops sells organic and sustainable products ranging from chocolate to shampoo. As a (small) business you can rent a shelve and place your products there. It is a great concept!
“ I have always loved to cook. A food swap is the ideal opportunity to swap your products and receive something delicious in return.”
What to bring to a food swap?
One of the key questions is of course what I should bring to a food swap. To be honest, I was a bit afraid of preparing the wrong food. But of course my fears proved to be totally false! I brought homemade peanut butter & jelly energy balls (the recipe will be soon on the blog!) and I think it perfectly fit into the food ensemble. Also, Lotta confirmed that it really does not matter what you bring, as long as it it delicious, people will like it. All three women encourage the participants not to think too much about their products. As long as it is home made, everybody is welcome to bring any product they like to prepare.
“Oftentimes the easy things such as chocolate chips cookies are the most popular options during the food swap.“
When everybody came to the swapping location there were so many great products available to swap. We had everything from various marmalades and pickled veggies over carrot cake granola to sourdough bread and muffins. I was really overwhelmed with all the different choices but at the same time I already saw me bringing home great home made delicacies.
How does the food swap work?
The women have really worked out a great concept in terms of giving the food swap a nice and loose structure. After arriving at the swapping location everybody is asked to fill out a small piece of paper writing down their own name, the product name, and potential information concerning allergies and ingredients. Then, one positions the text next to one’s products so that everybody that walks by can read it. After that everybody shortly introduces his/her product(s) and eventually also adds how is has been made. As a last step, you walk by each product and write your name on the piece of paper in case you want to swap this product. When everybody is ready the food swap starts and you approach the person you would like to swap your product with asking if she/he wants to swap, too.
Reading all these instructions might sound now a bit complicated, but in reality it is not. It is actually so nice to listen to all the people and the different products and to receive great tips and inspiration.
What can I take away from a food swap?
Food swaps are great! Yes, I can definitely say this after my first food swap 😉 Not only do I love the idea to meet new people with similar interests, but you also learn a lot about the preparation of food and get new inspiration. That’s exactly also a point Lotta addresses. Having fun at the food swap is one benefit. But the other one is that you get inspired to try out new things and perhaps even dare to try out recipes that you otherwise would never have tried without coming to a food swap. So it really is a win-win for everybody I would say. At the end Lotta also reveals that they plan to publish a cookbook with all recipes and short interviews with participants. But that’s all still up in the air. The power women will first plan the next food swap, which will take place in May.
I really hope that I could inspire you to start a food swap yourself. Why not organizing one with your friends and families and sooner or later more and more people will be involved. Spread the word and let’s start a food swapping revolution 😉 If you have experiences with food swapping or would like to share your opinion I would be so happy to hear your opinions and experiences!