Friday, July 31, 2009

Spread the Word!

Veggie Trader just passed its four month birthday. Hurray! If the site were a baby, it wouldn’t even be crawling yet—just starting to blink out at the world. We wrote a similar post to this back in March when we launched the site, but feel it’s worth repeating that Veggie Trader is young and growing. Already we’ve seen that as time passes the site gets bigger and busier—nearly 6,000 people have become members so far—and we’re looking forward to the next few months and beyond!

Swap your homegrown produce on Veggie Trader

We’ve heard lots of good things from many people who like the site, and we’ve received a number of requests for fliers and other materials to help spread the word. If you think Veggie Trader is a great idea and would like to see it grow and become a useful resource in your area, we’ve just launched a revamped Spread the Word page, complete with many sizes of web banners as well as various printable fliers you can use.

We’re working hard to get the news out too. The site has been mentioned in dozens and dozens of newspapers and blogs, from the Washington Post’s food blog to the front page of the New York Times’ Dining section. The site has also made multiple appearances on TV and radio. Response has been tremendous and positive. Tens of thousands of people have visited Veggie Trader, hundreds of listings have been posted, and we’ve heard stories of many people all across the country making successful connections.

So please help us spread the word if you can, and don’t be discouraged if you visit the site and there are few listings in your area. Try posting a listing yourself and see what happens! Give it time. Remember, Veggie Trader is just getting started!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Living Off the Land

A friend of Veggie Trader’s (and our next-door neighbor, Hillary) recently shared a story with us we found particularly striking, especially given how much time we spend thinking about sharing and bartering excess homegrown produce. Hillary is the co-founder of Helping Orphans Worldwide (HOW), a non-profit that works with orphanages in Vietnam and the Philippines. One of the places Hillary and HOW are deeply involved is in the Thien Duyen Orphanage in Cu Chi, Vietnam, a place home to over 100 children. Hillary describes the conditions at the orphanage as horrific. Many of the children are sick or crippled, but rarely receive proper medical attention. The children survive on two meals of rice each day, with the odd piece of fish thrown in on occasion.

The orphanage gets by largely from selling what they can grow: pepper from the home of the director’s daughter, as well as mushrooms grown on site. They also produce salt, some bean curd products, sprouts and a few handicrafts. The story is a real eye-opener, and a reminder how in many parts of the world earning as much as you can squeeze out of the land is literally the way of life…

FYI, HOW is always looking for volunteers interested in mixing travel and site-seeing with donating a bit of time and energy to help the orphanage and interact with the kids.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Garden Politics

First - as far as we know - there was the San Francisco Victory Garden. Then the White House planted their own garden. Next Maria Shriver planted a garden in the California state capitol. Not to be outdone, Queen Elizabeth got in the act. Now, it appears UK Prime Minister Brown has also joined the party.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the sudden interest in heads of lettuce by heads of state? What politician will be next? Will 'gardener' soon be a required resume item for political leaders?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Here's a question we sometimes get asked:

"Can I use Veggie Trader if I don't have a garden?"

The answer is "Yes!" In fact, we've set-up a special area of Veggie Trader where people looking for local homegrown produce can find neighbors with extra. It's called the Wanted section, and it's easy to use. Just post a Wanted listing stating what you are looking for, and then wait for a response. For instance, this fall you might post a listing letting people near you know you're looking for local apples. If someone in your area with a tree and extras spots your listing, they can contact you.

So even if you don't have a garden, you can give Veggie Trader a try!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Veggie Trader Hits Seattle

A TV station in Seattle gave us a friendly mention today, along with giving a plug to both community gardening and sharing excess produce with those who need it, two things we wholeheartedly support. Thanks to all the people in the area who responded to the story by checking out Veggie Trader and posting listings. You can watch the story here.

By coincidence, we happened to take a ride up to Seattle this weekend for an overnight visit. What an awesome and beautiful city! And the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Here’s a photo we took from the top of the Space Needle:

Seattle had an unusually dry spring this year, and driving though the neighborhoods reveals lots of brown and dying grass. But still, plenty of nice and healthy looking vegetable gardens dot the cityscape. The forecast is calling for the possibility of showers for the Pacific Northwest later this week, so maybe all those gardens will get a little drink...