December 19, 2014

Topanga Produce Exchange

 

PHOTOS BY CAMMIE HARDOUIN

Topanga Produce Exchange

Tali Whalley with son, Cody (left), and Miwa Morishita (right) sit and share their produce and gardening tips at the Topanga Community Club Children’s Garden at the Topanga Produce Exchange on July 26.

The Topanga Produce Exchange is a free, monthly, neighborhood exchange of non-GMO organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers that grow in our yards.

On July 26, a small group gathered at the Community Club’s Children's Garden, where Carolyn Davis provided a tour, shared composting and edible gardening tips and water-wise tricks.

Gabrielle Lamarind brought strawberries for snacking; Tali Whalley brought pumpkins so big that Judith Fine-Sarchielli helped her cut portions for exchanging. Carolyn and Donald Day brought giant squashes while sons Simon and Tristan collected insects in the cool shade of the Children's Garden. Cammie Hardouin shared eggs, echeverrias, eggplants, Kung Pao chili peppers and tomatillo seeds for the Children’s Garden. Donald and Miwa Morishita used the meet to clear a space for an upcoming Children's Garden project.

Topanga Produce Exchange

Left to right, Miwa Mirishita, Gabrielle Lamarind, Tali Whalley (with son Cody and daughter Kira), Carolyn and Donald Day (with sons Simon and Tristan) and Judith Fine-Sarchielli

Last year, when Hardouin and her neighbor, Jesse Cole, had too many eggplants and tomatoes, she searched the internet for other Topanga gardeners to swap with, hoping for citrus or avocados.

Topanga Produce Exchange

Caroline Day with herb bouquet picked from the Children's Garden.

The closest thing that turned up was a gardening cooperative in northeast Los Angeles, where she found Hillside Produce Cooperative creator, Hynden Walch, who encourages gardeners to start their own neighborhood produce exchange and to copy her so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

“In a collective we all get to enjoy some of what everyone grows in exchange for contributing what we don’t want or won’t use ourselves,” says Walch. “No food is wasted and we all get a variety of fresh local produce for free."

Topanga Produce Exchange

Tali Whalley and Judith Fine-Sarchielli cut pumpkins.

"Hynden's idea is inspiring and she provides a model for action that I ran with," says Hardouin. "A little organization action on my part has been met with encouragement from the Topanga community. So far, we have all organic, GMO-free gardeners interested,” she says. The first exchange was June 21.

The next exchange will be August 30. 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Children's Organic Garden.

Volunteers and drivers are welcome. For more information or to join: (310) 455-3647; topangaproduceexchange@gmail.com;topangaproduceexchange.tumblr.com/.