How to start a homestead exchange in your area. I guess we first need to define what a homestead exchange is, exactly. A homestead exchange is simply a group of like-minded people gathering together to swap produce, homemade goods, seeds or any other item of abundance not in use on your homestead. It is a great way to share what you don’t need and get something you’ll use.
When starting a homestead exchange there are few things to consider. You’ll need others to join you, you’ll need a place to meet and you’re probably going to need some ground rules.
How to Start a Homestead Exchange in Your Area
Why start a homestead exchange?
A group like this quickly builds a greater sense of community. You get to have face to face conversation with people that are doing what you’re doing, hold similar values and understand the struggles. It is a great way to learn and share your experience and those who’ve been doing this for a lot longer.
Not to mention it is a great way to try out produce you aren’t growing, exchange some seeds and maybe get a few homemade goodies.
Where to find people for your homestead exchange.
There are several avenues for finding people. First, start with people you already know, and ask them to gather a few people that they know. Make up some fliers with basic information and contact (don’t put out dates or an address – you probably want to “screen” people a bit). Put the fliers up in farm and garden supply stores, community centers, library etc.
Next, you can take it high-tech. Look for local homesteading groups on Facebook, Reddit, forums, Meet-Up, etc. Once your own group is established you may want to have an online presence yourself for members to chit chat outside of your meetings.
Where should your homestead exchange meet?
Ultimately that’s really up to you; but I do think a homestead would be the best choice. Do you, or someone else interested in meeting, have an a space that would hold people and their items? How about a portion of the backyard? It doesn’t need to be an indoor gathering, unless weather is unpredictable. You’ll need to decide if you are offering tables and chairs or if people need to bring their own.
If no one wants to host then consider looking for a feed store, church, store parking lot or community garden that might be willing to host for a small fee. Just ask everyone to contribute to the costs so it isn’t a burden for one person.
One consideration when hosting a group is your homeowner’s insurance – ask your agent how to protect yourself.
Setting some ground rules for your homestead exchange.
It is important to set some standards for your homestead exchange. Things to consider:
- What do you expect people to bring?
- How will exchange items?
- Can teaching be a exchangeable?
- Is there anything thing you don’t want there?
- How often will you meet? Monthly? Quarterly?
- Will you limit children coming? I love kids but if you’re concerned about someone getting hurt you may want to make this an adult only homestead exchange.
I hope you are encouraged to start your own homestead exchange in your area. They are a fabulous way to share, learn and build community. I belong to one myself with my friend Donna – she wrote about it in Food Growing Networks. You can also check out this Houzz forums for a listing of established garden exchanges and join one!