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Ballardites propose ‘Backyard Barter’

Posted by Geeky Swedes on February 25th, 2011

During the summer do you find yourself with too many berries, more tomatoes than you can handle (except maybe last summer), or an expertise like canning that you can teach others? A pair of Ballardites wants to bring neighbors together to share their bounty and knowledge.

Ericka Sisolak and Creagh Miller are proposing a new project called Backyard Barter. “Backyard Barter is a community where neighbors barter locally produced food, related skills and materials,” Sisolak tells us. “Seedlings, eggs, extra produce, canned goods, the use of garden tools, expertise in garden construction and design, a helping hand with food-related projects and the list could go on and on.”

The Backyard Barter project consists of two elements – a community website and monthly events. The website will be for individuals to connect with each other and determine if they have anything to barter. “The monthly events will be in-person bartering events, information sessions, or collaborative events with other local organizations focused on local food,” says Sisolak. “The idea is to encourage individuals to connect and to help to build a sense of community.”

People without gardens shouldn’t feel left out, Sisolak tells us. “People in apartments could get involved in a number of ways. The concept is to barter locally produced food, skills and materials For instance if someone in an apartment cans regularly and would like to trade for some eggs, that could be arranged. Or if someone in an apartment likes to garden but does not have the space, perhaps they could help a local home owner with their garden once a week in exchange for some of the bounty.”

The duo recently applied for a Small and Simple Grant through the Department of Neighborhoods to develop and maintain the website help pay for monthly events. “We have a number of volunteers committed to about 12 thousand hours of volunteer labor over the next year, and the grant money would fill in the gaps,” Sisolak says. They find out next month if the grant has been approved. “Regardless of funding from the city, we plan to launch by the summer.”

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47 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Dweezil // Feb 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    For some reason I am unable to mock or troll this thread.
    It all sounds like a great idea and I hope it is successful.

  • 2 ChirpE // Feb 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    As a matter of fact, I did have too many berries last summer. After the fifth pound harvested I just got sick of harvesting every 3rd day. I look forward to seeing this group develop.

  • 3 Anonymous // Feb 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Great idea!

  • 4 jburgh // Feb 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    This is a good idea. I would be interested in teaching people how to raise Mason bees and trading cocoons for organic veggies.

  • 5 pioggia // Feb 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    excellent idea!
    While we can give excess apples away to City Fruit, last year we were drowning in berries which just don’t hold long enough for something like that

  • 6 Anonymous // Feb 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I’ll WoW gold farming services for home-brewed beer.

  • 7 Andreaparker_ // Feb 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I would definitely be in to this! I have a yard that I tried gardening last year with little success due to my lack of expertise. I would love to offer some of it up as space for a more experienced gardener (with less yardspace) to assist me this year. Also berries berries berries.

  • 8 Ericka Sisolak // Feb 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks for all the comments! If you would like to get on our list or volunteer some of your time to the project drop us an email at

  • 9 Cookiesballard // Feb 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I bake, can & make freezer jams. I would love to do that in exchange for the fresh fruit or veggies.

  • 10 Cookiesballard // Feb 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I bake, can & make freezer jams. I would love to do that in exchange for the fresh fruit or veggies.

  • 11 Foghorn Leghorn // Feb 26, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Neat! I’d be willing to teach people to brew beer, and trade my spent grain for eggs (chickens love it!) or veggies.

  • 12 ltfd // Feb 26, 2011 at 1:15 am

    The Washington State Department of Revenue won’t approve, since bartering bypasses the ability to tax the exchange of goods- seriously!

    Once a website is set up to facilitate exchanges, they will be all over the participants.

  • 13 Dweezil // Feb 26, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I would think that this falls under the same umbrella as yard sales. If you don’t pass a certain threshold of monetary value, you don’t have to report it.

  • 14 EddieSpagetti // Feb 26, 2011 at 3:24 am

    I’d trade my amazing love-making ability education for some beer.

  • 15 Biff Sparky // Feb 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    If anybody here feels the DOR won’t intervene, they’ve got another thing coming. Perhaps this is due to many not running a biz or trusting government too much. This country is broke. You will not escape the long arm of big brother 4 long. Unless of course you want to cheat and withold $$ from the children, poor people, and programs in need of funding. Programs most here voted for in fact. You do want to help, right? Democrats; they have what it takes to take what it is we all have.

  • 16 Foghorn Leghorn // Feb 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Translation: Git off my lawn!

  • 17 Rebekell // Feb 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I would love to get involved in this! I am an apartment dweller, without a garden, but would love to participate..

  • 18 Ted // Feb 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    What a stoopid idea.

  • 19 Lola O // Feb 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I’d had a similar idea about wanting to set up a local Barter Classifieds. I love the idea of sharing the bounty! Can’t wait for the summer!

  • 20 Happy to grow // Apr 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I am pleased to see this kind of thing starting up; it seems like a natural process rather than the angst that many people go through to try to grow things or in procuring food.

    Thank you.

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