What is a food swap?
Food swaps are sweeping the nation! A part of the current DIY zeitgeist, it’s just good, old fashioned common sense to share what you have with others – and get something as carefully crafted in return. Here are some questions that people have about food swaps – feel free to ask us anything else you may want to know.
Where do I start?
Reserve free tickets to attend a Mile High Swappers event. Registration opens a couple of weeks before each swap and we will share when sign-up starts via our SwapNews mailing list first, and then on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
What do I bring?
Come to the event with five or more portions of your amazing home created goods that you are prepared to part with – they can be all the same thing or a mix. The only rule concerning what you bring to swap is that it must be a home made or home grown food or drink. If it’s organic, gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar etc. that’s great – just make sure you label it accordingly so you can easily find like-dieting people to swap with.
Samples of your goodies are definitely welcome – as are extra treats to share with the group.
Our swaps are definitely food-focused, but we are OK with other crafts too. Our not-so-set-in-stone rule is that you may bring non-food handmade items to swap as long as you also have a food item.
We accept donations for local food pantries at every swap, but there are rules about what they accept, so please see our About Us page for that info, and then bring something to donate!
Children, family, and friends who are interested in checking out what happens at a swap are very welcome as well.
Please also bring an adventurous spirit and expectation of a good time meeting new people.
What happens when I get there?
The food swap lasts about two hours. When you arrive you will have a chance to set up, check out the products that other attendees have brought to swap, and ask one another questions about recipes, process, techniques, etc.. After everyone has settled in, we will get together to introduce ourselves and our swap items, answer any questions about how the swap works and and announce the beginning of the bidding.
Now is your chance to let other swappers know you are interested in trading for their goodies by signing up on their bid sheets.
After everyone has had a chance to place their bids, we do a quick countdown and the trading begins! You can see on your bid sheet who wants your amazing soup/jam/cookies/home cured bacon and decide if it’s worth trading for their excellent compote/bread/infused oil/backyard laid eggs. Writing your name on someone’s bid sheet does not guarantee that you will get that item – it’s just a place to start the wheeling and dealing.
You don’t have to take anything you don’t want and you definitely do not have to spend any money – cash is strictly forbidden.
Here is a great article about food swap etiquette – please take a look!
How many people will be there?
We limit the swaps to 30 people so there is enough variety but won’t get too overwhelming, and typically about 15 people attend. If you are planning to come with friends or family, make sure to sign everyone up who has items to trade. And feel free to come on your own to swap or just check out what we are up to – we are friendly and welcoming and really want to meet you, too!
Is this stuff safe? What if I get sick?
It is in noone’s best interest to poison fellow swappers! Swappers are expected to use safe handling practices when preparing their food. Canned items should be labeled with the date of canning. Things that look canned but were not actually canned should be labeled appropriately – ie. a sauce that is presented in canning jars that should really be refrigerated.
Food swaps are considered social gatherings, like a community pot-luck, and not regulated by government food safety standards. Swappers are solely responsible for what they bring to share and what they bring home – Mile High Swappers is not.
Accidents do happen, so if you are having a problem you believe is linked to something you took home from the swap, you should contact us so we can alert the rest of the group.
Anything else I should know?
Packaging can be as fancy or plain as you like – but please try to make it reusable/recyclable. We want food swaps to be zero-waste events, so go ahead and use jars from your recycling bin – it doesn’t matter too much if portion sizes aren’t exactly uniform. You can also find canning jars at thrift stores for super cheap.
Samples and shared dishes should come in something washable that you plan to bring home with you. Compostable/recyclable plates and utensils are also great.
You may want to write up a card describing your items to bring with you to the swap – that way you’ll have more time to sample and bid and kibitz when you get to the swap, instead of trying to remember everything that went into your recipe, writing down special instructions, etc.
You may also want to bring some extra containers and ice packs to take home goodies that need special care. You never know! If you want to swap items that need refrigeration, just bring them in a cooler that people can peek into.
Oh, and since this is Colorado, this has to be mentioned – please only bring homemade goods that do not require a prescription.
Also – in Colorado bartering is considered a form of sale, and making alcoholic beverages for the intent of sale is illegal, so swapping liquor can result in a ticket if the Department of Revenue decides to show up at a swap. Offering homemade liquor as a gift, however, is totally OK. Consider yourself informed.
Isn’t swapping about something naughty?
Contrary to our somewhat suggestive name, Mile High Swappers has nothing to do with trading spouses on an airplane. Sorry!