Veggie Trader

Media theorist Douglass Rushkoff has a great new radio show and podcast on WFMU called Media Squat. On the first episode he speaks eloquently of the power of developing local currencies through concepts such as time banking (see our local Echo Park Time Bank for a great example of that) and how these local efforts could be the way out of our current economic morass. Rushkoff is especially interested in the roll the Internet can play in setting up new local economies.

Homegrown Evolution just got an email about a nice example of the potential for using the Internet for localizing. Veggie Trader is a new web based service for distributing and trading excess produce.

“Using Veggie Trader is free and easy. It works like classified advertising. You post a listing describing the excess produce you have and what you’d like in return, and then you wait for a response…

Or, if you’re looking for local produce, you simply enter your zip code and see what your neighbors have available. You can also post specific produce you’re looking for in our Wanted section and see which of your neighbors answers your request.”

We plan on speaking to the folks behind it to get more details and hope to post the first Homegrown Evolution podcast about it soon. It will be interesting to see if the Veggie Trader takes off.

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14 Comments

  1. Thanks for the link. It is pretty sparse in there with the closest thing to me being over 200 miles away, but the more people post about it as an option, the more will sign up.

  2. Insisting on us giving our real names creeps me out. “If” I joined and saw a listing that appealed to me, I’d trade my info with the person I was dealing with once they sounded up and up (and vice-versa for them). What’s the site’s reasoning for wanting our real names: Marketing? Big Brother/Nanny? Over-zealous attorney?

  3. Hi. This is Rob from Veggie Trader. Thanks Homegrown Evolution for the post, and thanks to everyone who has commented.

    Shreela, we didn’t think asking for first and last name was a big deal, but we’ll look into removing it as a requirement. No big brother/nanny/evil marketing plot abounds. ;)

    Thanks for the input!

  4. In Altadena we have a Yahoo Group that has been doing this for a while. In addition to trading backyard produce, eggs, etc, we are also using it to share ideas and get people together for gardening projects or to teach each other useful skills. This weekend about 20 of us are getting together to make tomato cages. And a a few members are organizing an event to share ideas / recipes for non-toxic house cleaning. As a result of this network, I recently got to take care of a neighbor’s horse for a couple of days in exchange for fresh eggs. Nice! Before I joined this network, I didn’t know any of my neighbors. Now I know dozens. This is a really powerful idea. Participating in this kind of network has completely transformed my thinking about my local community and my place in it. I’m glad to see that this idea is taking hold!

  5. I’ve been thinking about just getting a few locals to do this. Actually three of us set up a blog to do this, but then it fell by the wayside while we did other things.

    Query: would the proposed new regulations where you have to be liscenced to sell veggies or seeds shut this down? (I tend to be a bit behind on the news, so if this is now moot, please forgive me).

  6. Helen & Scott Nearing described doing this in their book, The Good Life. They set up an exchange based on number of hours worked to produce the food. Can’t remember what they sent out (was it walnuts? maple syrup?), but they got citrus in exchange.

    I guess it’s an idea that’s been around a while. The intertubes should make it easier to arrange though.

  7. Jct: Why don’t you use tokens worth veggies?
    Best of all, peg your local currency to the Time Standard of Money (how many dollars/hour child labor) and Hours earned locally can be intertraded with other timebanks globally!
    In 1999, I paid for 39/40 nights in Europe with an IOU for a night back in Canada worth 5 Hours.
    U.N. Millennium Declaration UNILETS Resolution C6 to governments is for a time-based currency to restructure the global financial architecture.
    See my banking systems engineering analysis at http://youtube.com/kingofthepaupers with an index of articles at http://johnturmel.com/kotp.htm

  8. Great to hear from you Rob. I’ve usually avoided sites requiring full legal names, with a few exceptions like eBay and Amazon, since being on the net. But since I had just read Ask Jackie’s recent newsletter/feed about government discussing tracking vegetables, I became more sensitive than usual to sites wanting so much info.
    Disturbing National Animal Identification talk now spreading to vegetables in your garden (first article)

    I look forward to joining your site with my pseudonym, and hope farmers from my area will join so I can buy, and maybe barter some of what I am able to grow.

    Thanks

  9. Thank you for posting this. I am a member of veggie trader and cannot wait fro us to be able to trade our veggies. We live in an apartment and are still finding great ways to grow our own and homestead.

    Btw I just got your book and I am loving every page of it.

  10. Seems like this is going on all over, under different names. In fact, when I speak on a panel discussion on Earth Day about why to grow food, community building will be on the list.

    We’re working hard at alamedafruitexchange.blogspot.com to make this a reality in our town – wonder if this would give us some ideas.

  11. I live in Toluca Lake/North Hollywood area. After looking at Time Bank.org I found out that there is no time bank here in my area, so my family and I are starting one. I ask that anyone in our area Burbank/North Hollywood who is interested please contact me. It is an important step for all of our communites

  12. I really love Rushkoff’s work, and I saw him speak at Personal Democracy Forum last week. I bought and devoured his new book Life Inc. immediately afterward.

    I’ll be incorporating some of his thoughts / talk about how social media is helping to enable easier organization of alternative currency markets at Pecha Kucha Maine on the 16th of July.

    Keep up the good work!
    Alex

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