The swap without the shop.

I know that generally people find me a little weird. I have a field where I grow the majority of the fruit and veg we need. I forage for flowers and fruits, nuts and berries. I make jams and jellies, chutneys and relish. I recycle everything, even going so far as to bring the office-wide daily quota of used tea bags and coffee grinds home from work with me to compost. I thrive on being outdoors, being physically active and connecting with nature and the seasons.20140608-225355.jpg

But today I didn’t feel weird. Today I met a new group of people who are exactly like me. Today I met some of the 504 members of the Jersey in Transition Group, at a Food Swap event held in partnership with the National Trust for Jersey at the Greve de Lecq Barracks, St Mary.

20140609-081214.jpg It was a new experience for me, accustomed as we are to buying what we need from any number of different shops. The plan was to take what you have to offer and trade it with an item being offered by others, back to pre-money bartering days! I took haws ketchup, elderflower cordial, rhubarb and ginger jam, strawberry jam, crab apple jelly and red currant jelly and set them up as 5 lots to swap.

20140609-081835.jpg There was a lovey selection of goods on offer – from crab and mackerel; mint and lemon balm plants; a whole selection of jams, jellies and chutneys; fresh courgettes, broad beans and strawberries; delicious home baked goods; bags of stoneground flour; tomato, lettuce and strawberry plants and a collection of vraic products – to name just a few. Phew.

20140609-083053.jpg Once your goods are set up, off you go to look around and see what you would like to swap it with. When you see something you like you pop your name on their card and details of what you are offering to swap it with, then carry on around the room.

20140609-083501.jpg It was a lovely way to meet new people and make friends. Jersey in Transition members loaded us with tea and delicious cake as we mingled. We chatted over produce, growing, harvesting and recipes. If I’m honest I was expecting a certain amount of kaftan wafting and ‘way out man’, but my pre-conceptions were appropriately crushed.

20140609-084012.jpgJersey in Transition is part of the Transition Network, a global network of like-minded individuals, groups, street, villages and even towns. I quote from their website ” The aim of Transition is to help you be the catalyst in your community for an historic push to make where you live more resilient, healthier and bursting with strong local livelihoods, while also reducing its ecological footprint. You could think of Transition as being the bit in the middle, between things you can do as an individual and all the big stuff government can do. It’s something that can only happen from the ground up, driven by ordinary people. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle.” That’s definitely something I want to be a part of!

20140609-104831.jpg The next stage was chaotic but fun. Check your cards, see if there was something on there you wanted to swap, find that person in the melee and swap! Invariably you don’t get all the swaps you were hoping to, so that led to last minute bartering, all part of the fun!

20140609-105547.jpg And then it’s all gone! I returned home with a mint plant for our herb garden at home, a seaweed bath soak (sounds delicious, can’t wait!), some propolis cream for skin redness, fresh courgettes (ours are only just flowering) and some jams.

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon! My thanks to Jersey in Transition for organising this event and to National Trust for Jersey for hosting it.

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  1. Thank you, Sheena, for this superb write-up of the Food Swap event. ‘Jersey in Transition’ (JiT) has other events every month too, and we hope to have another food swap in partnership with the National Trust for Jersey in September.
    It was lovely to meet you, and I hope to see you again. Everyone is welcome at all JiT events – the more the merrier. xx

  2. “I recycle everything, even going so far as to bring the office-wide daily quota of used tea bags and coffee grinds home from work with me to compost”

    Be careful about composting tea bags. Most of them have a percentage of plastic fibre in the “bag”, which will not compost down. Here’s a couple of links to articles I did on this subject>