Indy Food Swappers: Building friendship through sharing and learning about food
I recently sat down with the creator of Indy Food Swappers, Suzanne Krowiak, to learn more about this creative group of food lovers.
EI: How did Indy Food Swappers originate?
S: I was recovering from a foot injury and catching up on my food magazines; I read a blurb in a magazine about a food swap in Brooklyn. I looked it up and learned more from a New York Times article. I also saw a Minneapolis Food Swap started after the Brooklyn one. No one was doing this in Indianapolis, so I was inspired to start it. I was volunteering with the Earth House Collective, and I asked them if we could use some space to host the food swap. We did our first food swap in August of 2011. There were eleven people, and it was really fun. I modeled it off of the Minneapolis Food Swap for organization and to know how to run the swap. We modified it to do what worked best for us. Now we reach capacity every food swap!
EI: What is the purpose?
S: I like to cook, I like to be in the kitchen and I like to talk to people who also like that. It is nice to be around likeminded people doing things that you like to do. The food swap builds a community of like people and connects those people to each other. It grew to be a real learning experience. They will see what someone else is doing, like making pickles, and if they like them then they will learn how to make them, too. The swap builds community, inspires people and allows people to share time with those who they don’t know at all, but share similar interests.
EI: How do people benefit from Indy Food Swappers?
S: There are a few different ways. It connects people with different parts of the city or even region like far north and east sides. It also brings people with totally different jobs, lives, circumstances and similar interests together. It brings people of all different walks of life to this space to share their ambition to try, share, eat and make new things. It gives people a concrete starting point to begin conversation and friendship. The food swap is connecting human beings who would not have previously crossed paths.
We are coming up on four years, and I know there are people now who are doing things that they did not do before like baking, canning and making teas. It has given people courage to try new things because they are surrounded by an encouraging community willing to share information, recipes and shortcuts. It is beyond just the food, but also sharing knowledge and cheering each other on as we try new things. And nothing makes a food lover happier than being in a room full of food lovers.
Ei: Why do you think this program is important? What are the benefits?
S: I believe other people outside of the swappers have peeked in, and it can be a model for the community. More people will become connected. It will build a stronger community. People are coming back to the swap because it is a good group of people who are open minded and welcoming.
It is a model because we are individually in the kitchen, but then we can make more and trade with other people. You can benefit from a diversity of skillsets from each other, and from another person’s expertise.
Ei: Where are Indy Food Swappers?
S: We meet at the Indianapolis City Market. We try to meet every other month, but swappers are also very involved in other food groups in the city, so we can’t always meet if we have other obligations. The food swap is posted on the website prior to the event. It is a free event, but it is ticketed and space is limited.
EI: How can a consumer find you/contact you/become a participator?
S: Find us on the website.
Facebook Indy Food Swap
Visit the Indy Food Swapper’s website to find out when the next swap will take place and to register. It is on a first come, first served basis. You can also send an email through the website to be added to their email list.