How we Swapped

newbie cheesemaker Morgan organizes her many flavors of fresh soft cheese at the June 2011 swap

Please note: Due to conversations with the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture regarding interpretation of the law around swapping food, as well as changes in our lives and schedules, we are no longer organizing MPLS Swappers events. 

Wondering how a food swap works? Here’s the deal.

What to bring

  • All swap items must be homemade, homegrown, or foraged by you. Think breads, jams, pickles, granola, cheese, vinegar, beer, wine, eggs, fruit, herbs, etc.
  • Bring as few or as many items as you like, within reason – the more you bring, the more you get to take home! Due to limited space, however, we ask that you do not bring along your entire pantry. Please use your best judgement and remember that 30-40 other people will be attendance as well.
  • Please package/wrap your food in a way that protects it and makes the amount you are swapping clear. Fellow swappers will be examining your goods, and we want the food to stay in one piece.
  • If possible, bring samples of your foods for others to try. Please bring any serving utensils/plates/etc with you.
  • Print and fill out a Swap Bid Sheet for each unique type of food you are bringing to swap. For example, if you have 6 jars of identical jam, fill in one sheet. If you have 6 jars of different jams, fill in 6 sheets. Get it? DOWNLOAD THE SWAP BID SHEET: Food Swap bid sheet

How the swapping happens

  • Swaps will be auction style. Each swapper will have a bid sheet filled for each item they have to swap and a few lines under the item.  Download the sheet in advance (Food Swap bid sheet) or get sheets at the event. If possible, please print and fill in before the event.
  • The first 30 minutes of the swap will be devoted to sign-in, set-up, and greetings.
  • The next 30-45 minutes will be the time for everyone to walk around and examine and sample items from the other swappers. If you find something you like, write your name and what you’d like to offer in exchange on the bid sheet.  Multiple people will be bidding on the same items, so bid on as many items as you like. it is likely that you will not get some of the items you bid on, so you want to make sure you spread your bids around!
  • The final 30-45 minutes is when all the swapping actually happens. Everyone will go back to their original sheets of paper and look at their offers. They will decide which swap they would like to accept for each item, find that person via their name tag, and make the swap.
  • If you have leftover items after the formal “bids” are complete, try making swaps on-the-fly with other people that have leftovers. You’ll be amazed at how many items you can swap after the formal “bid” process ends!

Sign up

Back when we swapped, we loved using the free site Eventbrite to create event pages for our swap meets. We would allow 40 participants per event, and would promote the event through Facebook, no-cost Mailchimp event notice mailings to our mailing list, and our blog. The swap event was free to attend, but requiring RSVPs (“tickets”) allowed us to monitor the number of people attending to ensure a group size that was intimate and fit in our space! We

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