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 BackyardBarter.org 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.”