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Want To Trade Food? The DC Food Swap Begins Sunday

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The inaugural DC Food Swap will be held Sunday, Sept. 23.
The inaugural DC Food Swap will be held Sunday, Sept. 23.

WASHINGTON -- Are you doing anything with that basil plant in your kitchen? Do you have too many homemade pickles on your hands? Want to trade what you've got for someone else's jam, or bread, or plants?

The DC Food Swap will host their first event this weekend at the mixed use Adams Morgan space Above the Bike Shop. Organizers Jess Schreibstein, Tanya Fey and Claire Sadeghzadeh are bringing gardeners, farmers, basil-growers, pickle-makers and everyone who likes food -- not just the foodies -- together to trade share homemade, homegrown and foraged foods with each other. Trades will be done by barter; no money will change hands.

Schreibstein spoke to The Huffington Post about this Sunday's inaugural event.

The Huffington Post: What's the goal for the event?

Jess Schreibstein: Our goal is to have it happen and have it be a success. We'd like to give people the opportunity to meet people they otherwise wouldn't meet and go home with some home-made food.

HuffPost: Who do you hope attends?

Schreibstein: We want to stay away from making this a "foodie" event. We're hoping to draw people from all across the community. There are food activists, food bloggers, community farmers, moms and dads who make their own stuff. We want to bring all of those people together.

There are a lot of opportunities for foodies to come and gather, but this is about drawing everyone together.

HuffPost: Is it more like a family style dinner? Buffet? Farmers market?

Schreibstein: It's definitely an informal market. The way it works is like a silent auction. Everyone comes in, sets up all their goods and bid sheets are filed out. People will list what they've brought or made, including ingredients. There's a place for people to write what they'd like to swap for their items.

We'll spend about an hour allowing people to walk around the room to figure out what they want to swap. For example, I'd like to swap my yogurt for your loaf of bread.

You'll be able to talk to everyone, taste what other people have brought, mingle and figure out what they'd like to barter for whatever they've brought.

HuffPost: Have you done this before?

Schreibstein: No. I actually found out about this when I visited L.A. I've never attended one but I've been corresponding with the organizer of the L.A. swap. She's started the Food Swap Network, which acts like an online community for food swaps around the country.

HuffPost: Why do this?

Schreibstein: Our mission is two-fold. We'd like to strengthen the food community that's already well-established in D.C. Rather than focus on one area, we'd like to bring them all together. Bloggers know bloggers, farmers know farmers and bee keepers know bee keepers. This is an opportunity for cross-semination.

Our second goal is to raise awareness about our local food shed, food sustainability and food independence. We want the person who keeps a basil plant in their kitchen who has never made pesto to make that leap. We want the person who has always been afraid to make a loaf a bread learn it's not that difficult. We want people to be more independent and not afraid of their kitchen.

This is just food knowledge and wisdom that used to be innate to us that has been lost. One of the core things about this is helping people regain that knowledge.

Sunday's Food Swap is currently sold-out, but interested parties should follow the organization on Facebook. There is a waiting list and any cancellations will be filled.

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