Category Archives: Barter

September Barter Challenge – Show Us Your Stuff

Here we are at the end of another month. And what did we learn?

Kate walked you through the many ways that she has found to incorporate barter into her life from finding a weekly trade partner to hosting a swap to creating a swapping network.

Rachel gave you a great swapping vinegar recipe that makes fantastic barter currency.

And Aaron at Wallingfarm wants you to actually consider how many barter transactions you can use to replace food purchases.

So maybe your yard is full shade but you have a friend with a full sun yard. She can’t grow lettuce and you can’t grow tomatoes. Get together and make salad! Or it could be honey, or beeswax and tallow for soap, or rabbit hides to tan from someone with no time to tan. Get creative! Everyone one of you can grow or produce or make something that is valuable to someone else and saves you and them money while getting you both off the industrialized food grid and reducing waste.

Barter can be something fun – or it can be something seriously life changing like it has been for Aaron. And don’t forget that you can also barter for things that would make fantastic gifts for those you love (and thereby replace something that you would have purchased.) Christmas is coming and wouldn’t it be fantastic to not need to buy so many mass produced trinkets or Starbucks cards for all the teachers and dog walkers and UPS drivers in your life? So keep that in mind as we work our way closer to December’s challenge – artisan and homemade gifts.

For now I hope you will share what you learned, what seeds were planted, and what you have set aside to barter. I truly hope this humble monthly challenge will be the beginning of a major shift in your life.

What can you win?

A copy of Kate’s fantastically charming book, Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking

A copy of my book, Urban Farm Handbook: City Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading, and Preparing What You Eat

Mad Barter Skillz – a life changer.

Show us your stuff! Please leave a comment or link up to blog entries below using Mr. Linky, telling me about the challenges you have taken this month. Please only leave one comment or link up one time since doing so is what enters you into the random drawing for prizes. I will leave this challenge open until Sunday, October 7 and then reply to commenters in this blog entry, or email those who linked up that won the random prize drawing.

September UFH Challenge Round 3 and 4: Engage in Barter, Plan for Next Year’s Bartering

Aaron over at Wallingfarm recently discovered barter and it’s completely changed the way his family eats, and the way he thinks about food stuffs.

Hopefully he can help you change the way you think about food stuffs and community as well. Hop on over and check out what he has to say about bartering.

September UFH Challenge Round 2: Custom Vinegar

Why make vinegar during barter month, you may ask? Because not everyone had the foresight or time to make excess quantities of home canned goodness last month when Marissa walked us through it. Okay, maybe that was just me and you are sitting pretty. But me, I’m super excited that right now Hawthorne, Oregon Grape and Ash Berries are available – and better yet, fruit castings leftover from late season canning. All free for the taking and turning into something special that will wow the socks off of lucky recipients.

Rachel Turiel of 6512 and Growing is my kind of gal: resourceful, frugal and a wealth of information. And whenever I feel like the chaos of food efforts with young children is overwhelming, I tune in to her blog. It’s sort of like a dose of Mr. Rogers. And by that I mean free therapy. Everything is calm chaos over there and her writing style is so best-friendly and down to earth that I always come away feeling like I just spent five minutes blowing bubbles while watching clouds.

So if, in your panic to preserve everything that your family needs last month, you didn’t manage to make those small batch specialties that will have people swooning over your barter offerings, then try your hand at some of Rachel’s vinegar ideas. As always, come back here at the end of the month and watch for the post to comment or link up to your September barter efforts. That will put you in the running to win some great prizes!

September UFH Challenge – Bartering

verb \ˈbär-tər\
Definition of BARTER
intransitive verb
: to trade by exchanging one commodity for another
transitive verb
: to trade or exchange by or as if by bartering
— bar·ter·er noun
See barter defined for English-language learners »
See barter defined for kids »
Origin of BARTER
Middle English bartren, from Anglo-French *bareter to do business, exchange, alteration of Old French barater — more at barratry
First Known Use: 15th century

Definition of BARTER
: the act or practice of carrying on trade by bartering
: the thing given in exchange in bartering
See barter defined for English-language learners »
Examples of BARTER

The tribes use a system of barter.
The explorers used blankets and other supplies for barter to get food from the native people.

First Known Use of BARTER
15th century


A few years ago, the word barter brought images of trappers trading for food goods at outposts to my mind. It was something you learned about in Economics but never really though much about. Today though, I try to do as much barter as possible. It will never replace cash, but it’s sure handy if you have, say, a full size apple tree and your neighbor has a full size cherry tree. Barter really shines when you have decided gaps in food production that someone else fills in perfectly.

And when I think of barter there is one person who comes to the forefront of my mind: the incomparable Kate Payne. Kate’s new book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking is utterly delightful and I will be reviewing it next week.

So for now I will send you over to Kate’s world, for the first of the September challenges. As always, come back here for new challenges and again at the end of the month to enter to win some great prizes including a copy of Kate’s book.

We Want You At Our Party on Sunday, October 23rd!

Dear Sustainable Eats Reader,

We want you at our book release party! You’ve followed Annette on her journey. Now it’s time to meet the whole food community! They’re great people, and over the years we’ve come to call many of them our friends. We’ve teamed up with the Seattle Farm Co-op and the brand-new organization Backyard Barter to create a party that stays true to our grassroots, and to your interests. Here are some of the things that will be going on at this amazing party:

  • BARTER. We’ll be bartering homemade goods with friends. Last year we had homebrew, honey, jams, pickles, chutneys, freshly ground flours, breads, knit octopi and squids (these proved quite popular), jewelry and much more. The only rule for the barter event is no money allowed! Backyard Barter will have some guidelines to keep the event organized. There’s even a special barter area for kids! Have them bring something homemade, a craft item, some dried fruit, some homemade candy (the kid with candy would be popular, for sure). Of course, they can participate in the adult barter too, but the organization Backyard Barter is exploring some fun ways to get kids hooked on bartering is too.
  • POTLUCK. Potluck, featuring homemade food! Food gives us an opportunity to talk about food with our friends. No time to cook? Barter for some homemade bread! Then all you need is a knife and cutting board!
  • SQUARE DANCE. Hosted by the Subversive Square Dance Society. Don’t worry, I don’t know how to square dance either. It’s been a long time since 8th grade P.E. But square dancing is hip again, and in Seattle it’s closely aligned with the urban farming movement thanks to musician and clogger Charmaine Slaven, one of the Co-op’s founders.
  • FUND RAISER. For devoted fans of the Seattle Farm Co-op (connecting backyard chicken owners with feed) , you can buy a lifetime membership for $50, which gets you discounts. For casual fans of the organization, there will be $10 bottomless pint glasses for sale – which you can then fill with free artisan beer from local breweries.
  • OFFICIAL BOOK RELEASE. And of course, we’ll be there with our new book, which the Co-op will be selling.

The party takes place in the beautiful top floor of the Phinney Neighborhood Center, Sunday evening October 23rd. The space is wonderful, with ancient hardwood floors and those tall, old schoolhouse windows. It’s a place that just makes you want to hang out and enjoy your friends, enjoying a pint and some good food while the kids wander around freely. This is not a fancy book launch in an expensive loft. This is a really good time with your food community, a community with staying power, united around a DIY ethic and a love of local food. If you want to do any of the things described in our book, there will be no shortage of people at this event who have done those very things! Most of them would love to chat with you. And we would love to connect with you too! Please come and introduce yourselves.

The party begins at 5:30. Entry is free, of course. Get there early as you won’t want to miss a minute!