Food swap trend reaches local community

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — As urban neighborhoods jump on the band wagon of an historically rural tradition, one woman is fueling the area’s participation in old-fashioned food swaps with a twist. The inaugural Encinitas Food Swap was held November 5 at Glen Park.
Just as local farmers were known to bring their canned fruits and vegetables from left over harvests in a bygone era, Isabelle Baril-Ortley is hoping to replicate the experience on a large-scale basis.
In fact, she was pleasantly surprised at the level of participation during the first official swap. “It is a way to barter food that is homemade with other ‘foodsy’ people in our community,” she said.
Apparently, the event was a success and has people clamoring for more. “It was crazy how everyone was talking about it at our school!” she exclaimed. Baril-Ortley has three young sons. “It was such a beautiful event with amazing creative food and people.”
One of the reasons for the staying power of food swaps is simple-convenience. “They are a one-stop-shop for homemade food you can’t get at the store and most people don’t have the time to make,” she said.
“We have the perfect community for a food swap,” Baril-Ortley said. “So many people here have a love of local, well-prepared food.” The next food swap is already planned for January 28. “I really think that one will be huge,” she said. 
Food swaps also have a ripple effect. “It help s our wonderful farmers market by using our local and seasonal resources by baking, canning and trading with other food lovers,” Baril-Ortley said. While the event was free participants were asked to bring canned goods to for a donation to the Community resource Center. “That’s so we can help even more people,” she said.
“I recommend people bring meal starters, things that can be frozen for later use,” she said. “We had an amazing selection.”
Participants brought pre-made portions of their dish with samples. Once a food that appealed to the palate was discovered, the bartering began. Variety was key according to Baril-Ortley. “We want people to try new foods and new ways of preparation.”
Harkening back to her small-town roots, Baril-Ortley said the swap is also an opportunity for the community to come together in order to forge a more cohesive bond.
For more information e-mail ortley@cox.net or visit the Encinitas Food Swap Facebook page.

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