Food Swap Update
What a year we’ve had, huh? One year ago, I was pulling together the pieces for the first food swap in March 2011. Never in a million years did I expect that it would go over so well. Within no time at all we had a loyal following and loads of publicity. Our presence drew attention from all over! The mayor. Professional chefs. Home cooks. Foodies. Expert canners. Gardeners. Authors. Journalists. Oh, and let’s not forget, the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture.
As we discussed in this post, we were contacted by the Minneapolis Department of Health in November due to their concerns regarding our organization’s format and the types of foods we swap. Multiple conversations with our contact at the Department of Health, each one yielding more and more questions and frustration. Pressed with time to find an adequate solution, and questioning possible issues with the legality of our event, we chose to cancel upcoming swaps. Truly, the timing of the inquiry couldn’t have been more inconvenient. We struggled to address the matter amidst a flurry of holiday commitments and winter colds, and finally decided to shelve the matter until January.
Refreshed by the new energy of the New Year and with more time on our hands, we are ready and rarin’ to go. Mandy, A-K, and I are working with our contacts to clarify the concerns at hand and develop actionable solutions that will allow us to re-establish our food swaps. Thankfully, we have a great support system of passionate policymakers and advisors to provide guidance along the way. We have appreciated all of the supportive messages we’ve received and we deeply value your commitment to and enthusiasm for food swapping. We will be sure to loop you in and ask for your support when it is appropriate. In the meantime, we hope you continue to celebrate food and friendship in your own unique ways.
This situation has encouraged us to explore our goals and interests for the MPLS Swappers. In addition to encouraging the culture of home food production and exchanging food with members of our community, we want to facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge and create a space for empowered and accessible food-focused conversation. Inspired, we have spun up a framework for another type of event that will do just that (no city or state regulatory issues involved). We are really energized about the potential for awesomeness here and will share information when we’ve pulled the final pieces together.
We are excited for these two types of events to grow and play off each other, and look forward to sharing details when the time is right. We find ourselves constantly inspired by your passion and can’t wait to see your smiling faces again sooner than later.
Kim, A-K, and Mandy