(The material below has been provided by the Macleod Food Swap)
To be successful, food swaps have to be primarily about people. The food is a secondary consideration. A swap will succeed food wise when the people who attend feel welcome and part of a community. We tell people that we are primarily interested in developing our community.
Generally a swap starts with a small number of people getting together (6-12) but it is after that that the real work begins. Sustaining and growing the meeting is the challenge. To this end, Macleod food swap has several people set up the swap (usually 4) so that it happens quickly and these people are free to talk with those arriving.
We make sure we have at least 3 greeters each time who look out for new people and people who have been once or twice before. The greeters go up to these people, introduce themselves, find out the person’s name, generally chat and explain how the swap works, when it is on and ask if they would like to be on the email list.
Then they introduce them to other people who have been coming for some time so that they have people to talk to. We get very positive feedback about this process. People love to feel welcome!
Finally, we have at least 2 people to write down what people bring and assist in weighing the produce both to quicken this process and also because it gives us an opportunity to chat with people and thank them for what they have brought.