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community building | sustainability

Preserves & Produce for People, Not Profit

Back by popular demand! People's Co-op is reprising last year's fun and successful money-free barter event! Only this time, the Co-op is having it on THREE different dates: Aug. 14, Sept. 18, and Oct. 16. What's the purpose of the event? To exchange delicious and healthy home-grown, home-preserved, or wildcrafted food; to share knowledge and skills about growing and acquisition with other people; and to create new community networks around food distribution that don't rely on money.
my own personal bounty from last year's barter
my own personal bounty from last year's barter
What to bring: canned, dried, or otherwise preserved food ~ produce from your garden ~ wildcrafted bounty ~ brews & tinctures. If you, say, go out to work on a farm and get some produce kicked down to you in exchange, that's also acceptable. You didn't buy it. It is true that many of have purchased seeds or starts for our gardens, but -- compared to the amount of work that came afterwards to bring about the food -- that cost is incidental. We can also exchange seeds at this event.

What not to bring: purchased food, money.

phone: phone: 503.ORGANIC x127

oops, forgot a couple details... 21.Jul.2004 21:15


the time of the event on each of these Saturdays is 11am to 2pm.

it's happening at people's co-op, which is at 3029 SE 21st (1 blk N. of Powell)

must be the heat that's addlin' my brain...

This sounds like a ton of fun! 21.Jul.2004 23:29


great event! i wish i could be there!
thanks pdx-imc for helping to bring out the news from the undergroud (like beets and carrots!)

People's Co-op is setting a fine example for other health stores!
and, pdx imc, in so many ways, is setting a fine example for other IMCs!
in this case, the focus on DIY and communinty eating is fantastic.

keep it up.

right on spArk ! 22.Jul.2004 07:57


we'll be there with bells on =)

want to invite other people? here's some flyers... 22.Jul.2004 11:02


these are both PDFs.
8 1/2 x 11 poster
8 1/2 x 11 poster
quarter sheets of same design on an 8 1/2 x 11
quarter sheets of same design on an 8 1/2 x 11

Is this a "food only:" event? 22.Jul.2004 11:09


We'd love to participate, but have no food to trade. Are other items encouraged? Such as cds, books, jewelry, artwork, etc?

yes, it's a food only event 22.Jul.2004 12:11


food, as one of the "bare necessities", is a human right. decommodifying food -- that is, disconnecting it as much as possible from money -- is essential to our longterm survival. (same goes for water and shelter.) focusing on food at this event helps us to see all the different ways in which this particular *necessity* is corporatized and commercialized and controlled, and how important it is for our independence and health to change that.

wildcrafted food was included in this event because there is so much food growing around the city that goes to waste that can be collected and enjoyed for free, whether fresh or processed. plums are in season currently, apples and blackberries are coming in. pears and peaches and figs and grapes all come a little later and are more difficult to find, but not impossible. there's at least two dozen sources of wildcrafted food within six blocks of where i live, and my SE neighborhood is not special or atypical in this way.

happy foraging!

Pickles, spArk? 22.Jul.2004 12:45

Kevin, the homebrewer

I hope you have made or will have made some pickles by the time the bartering events come around. Last year's were excellent.

Awesome 22.Jul.2004 14:08

Home Food Crafter

I'll be there. I've got thirty pounds of venison jerky I put up myself this winter, and I certainly can't eat it all.

We're doing a harvest swap in Astoria, too 23.Jul.2004 01:15

thanks, spArk!

on the closest weekend to the equinox. Thanks for the inspiration.

YAY! 23.Jul.2004 09:46


Mmmmm! I think it would be really cool if people wanted to write little cards (on recycled paper, of course) about how they preserved their goodies. Not everyone knows how easy it is to can, brew, distill, dry and otherwise preserve food.

This is important information to have. Our grandmothers knew how to feed their families, but I fear we are forgetting all that. The corporate food industry has made it a lost art. Many of us no longer know how to grow what we eat, how to keep it through winter, or even how to store food without an energy-consuming refrigerator. (Some of us even get really scared around pressure cookers full of soup stock....) This event is a cool way to reclaim that knowledge. I'd be really grateful to learn what other people are doing, and I'd be happy to share whatever information I might have. Thanks, spArk, for putting this on again.

PS The blackberries are already ripe! Yum.

Collect and Process Blackberries for the Homeless This Summer… 24.Jul.2004 16:29

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

Collect and Process Blackberries for the Homeless This Summer...
Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)

Blackberries grow like weeds all over the Pacific Northwest, where I live, and the berries are finally getting ripe. Could you spend a few hours berry picking, and then processing and donating them to food banks? Berries rot on vines all over, but if you spend the time to pick them, and freeze, dry or can them, you can use that abundant wild food source for months to come. My kid laughed at me when I packed the freezer with blackberries last summer. But he was really thankful later, and said so, when we had berry smoothies, berry pies, etc. all winter long. You can pick blackberries daily, and do all kinds of things with them. Make jam, wine, tea, ink, dyes, fruit leather, medicine...

Fossil evidence shows humans have been eating blackberries since ancient times. For over 2000 years, Europeans have been using blackberries as food and medicine. In ancient times, people chewed blackberry leaves, or made tea out of boiled blackberry shoots, to relieve mouth ailments, cancer sores, and bleeding gums. It is suspected that the property that relieves the mouth ailments is probably the astringent quality of blackberry plants. Blackberry plants have been used medicinally, by American Indians to Greek doctors, most commonly to stop diarrhea and for mouth ailments. It is said blackberries used to be dried once picked, then pulverized into a powder, then stored as a medicine. The dried powder would be mixed with a little water and used to treat diarrhea when needed. Blackberries contain a high amount of Vitamin C, so they were "prescribed" for scurvy in the past. And cosmetically, blackberry leaves can be added to bath water to enliven skin. Put a handful of dried leaves in a cotton/muslin tea bag, and drop into a bath. And teas from blackberry leaves can be found in grocery stores all over America, including in Celestial Seasonings' "Sleepytime Tea."

American Indians made a strong rope out of blackberry stems. And you can dye things with blackberry plant parts, including hair, according to legend. Supposedly blackberry parts and lye were mixed for a permanent black hair dye at some point in history, while other accounts simply mention using the leaves to dye hair. Accounts say the berries, leaves, and roots dye fabrics everything from yellow to gray to purple to green. You can make a writing ink out of the berries, by crushing ½ cup of ripe blackberries through a strainer, pushing the berries down with the back of a spoon to juice them, and collecting the juice in a bowl underneath. Add ½ t. vinegar and ½ t. salt to the juice. The salt acts like a preservative, and the vinegar helps keep the color. If it is too thick, you can add a little water. Store it in a small glass jar with a tight lid. (Blackberry ink is a drag if it spills!) Make small amounts at a time and keep tightly covered in the refrigerator when not using. It is said you can just pound berries, and add water, for ink also.

Symbolically, blackberry brambles have meant different things to different cultures. In some cultures, brambles are a symbol of lowliness and remorse, as they trip and catch you with thorns, like regret. A blackberry bramble can choke out other plants, and thus it is also symbolic of a person who is greedy or overbearing. Blackberry brambles have also been used historically as barriers, to keep animals, and human enemies, out of areas people wanted secured, thus they also symbolize walls and separation.

Fresh or powdered, dried blackberries were added to water, then sweetened with honey or maple syrup, then used as a beverage, by American Indians. You can make wonderful berry cordials by crushing enough blackberries in a strainer to make one quart of blackberry juice. Put juice in pan and add 1 pound of sugar. Then tie up in cheesecloth or a muslin tea bag: 2 t. each of powdered cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg and 1 t. of powdered cloves. Add to the juice and sugar. Heat to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Skim, then cover and let cool. Once cold, strain, and add 1 pint of brandy. Then bottle it up and seal it. You will be happy you did in the winter months!

You can freeze blackberries, and they freeze well. Just lay them out, individually, on a cookie sheet right after picking (do not wash), and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, throw them into freezer bags like frozen peas. You can dry the leaves by taking a piece of string or thread, and tacking it to one end of a corner in a room, and tacking the other end to the other wall of the corner. Now string blackberry leaves, hanging them by crooks in the leaves, until they are dry, then store them in jars. You can make fruit leather out of berries by making a puree out of the berries (you can also add a bit of lemon juice) in a food processor or blender, then straining most of the seeds out. Pour the puree onto cookie sheets, platters, etc. in a thin layer. Then place in the hot sun, and let dry. It may take a few days, so take the leather in at night. When dried, roll them up and store in jars.

Finally, you can make sun jam out of blackberries. Mix 4 cups of fresh blackberries with 3 cups sugar and 2 T. lemon juice and let sit, covered for an hour. Then bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Then turn heat up to hot, and let boil fully for 4 minutes, uncovered, without stirring. Take the pan off the stove and let cool, uncovered, for half an hour. Next pour the mixture into a shallow pan, such as a roasting pan, or shallow trays. Pour no deeper than ¾ inch, but no less than 1/3 inch deep. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving one small edge open to breathe. Put in direct sunlight, and stir the mixture every hour. Stirring is really essential. Once the liquid in the pan is the consistency of corn syrup, and the fruit is plump, remove from sun. It will still thicken as it cools also. In tests making this jam, it took 10 hours to make in Seattle, and 2 hours to make in Phoenix. You may even need to take it in at night, and let it stew for two days. Once finished, you can put the jam into jars and refrigerate, it will be good for about 4 weeks. Or you can put the jars into freezer containers, leaving 1 inch at top, and then sealing and freezing. Or you can put the jam into canning jars, and process them according to usual canning procedures.

The idea is to get out there and collect berries now while you can, for as long as the season will render its fruit. If you do not end up using the berries to make cordials you give out as presents during the winter, or to make ink with kids on a boring summer day, you can enjoy them in smoothies, and pies, teas and jams. And maybe you could even set aside a little extra for the poor in your area. What would be more delightful than to receive wild-crafted, homemade blackberry jam at your local food bank? The homeless often do not have a place to process the blackberry products, such as fruit leather, or sun jam. I remember seeing Ted Nugent saying he would go on hunting trips with his friends and shoot animals, and then give the meat to the local food bank. Well, this is the vegetarian alternative to that.