Food Swap

A food co-op that costs nothing but your garden

When your home garden or fruit trees bear a glut of tomatoes, oranges and avocados, it seems almost impossible to even give the stuff away. But with the help of Hillside Produce Cooperative, now you can share your bounty with neighbors. It's like a monthly swap meet for fruits and vegetables–and it's free.

Once a month, members from all over L.A. descend on founder Hynden Walch's Glassell Park home to donate homegrown goods, whether it's 60 pounds of grapefruit or a bundle of fresh herbs. A few hours later, they get a bag filled with beans, peppers, kale, persimmons and plums–whatever's in season–delivered right to their doorstep.

Membership costs nothing but time and goods, and no matter how big or small the donation, everyone gets the same amount in return. If you don't have fresh produce one month, donate homemade jams or teas, or even volunteer. It all evens out.

Anyone can join the group (sign up for the mailing list on Hillside's website), and if Glassell Park is too far, new chapters are in the works for Ventura and Pasadena. Of course, you could always start one for your own neighborhood.