It’s a kind of energy that is just beneath the surface; easily hidden among the shear quantity of things to do on the City (all boroughs). The simple idea of making food items to swap with strangers and newly discovered friends is simultaneously classic old-school country and quintessential urban community. This is the BK Swappers – A Brooklyn-based Food Swap Event!
Our first time attending this food swap was back in November ’11. It felt like it was a hidden secret among the food locals, but with each person connected to each other as well as the event founders, Megan Paska and Jane Lerner. We heard about it from a guest during Kati’s first seed exchange late last summer. Our second time, the more recent March event, was noticeably larger; a bigger space, more people, and additional activities such as talks and demos. Granted it was an anniversary event, celebrating two years of swapping but the crowd and enthusiasm was about more than just a commemoration of the event’s roots.
The reality is, BK Swappers is not a secret. In fact it’s certainly a clear reflection of a future strand of the American food industry and system. Look around and you will see other food swapping events across the country in a city near you. Big agriculture, mega-stores, and corporate owned farms aren’t going to die, but they will make way for a good size section of the American population that has a greater care for the food they consume than the masses. Enter the artisanal food producer.
BK Swappers exemplifies Brooklyn’s role as a cornerstone in a wide-sweeping revolution in how food is produced, obtained, and even thought about. Brooklyn firmly has its place in the “Roots of the New Artisanal Movement.” Expect to see more on this. The recent announcement of the old Pfizer Building becoming a massive culinary center and the new 3rd Ward Culinary Incubator inspires and motivates us. In this spirit, we have embarked on our own adventure opening Brooklyn Bell. It’s both comforting and sometimes daunting knowing that we are definitely not alone in being swept up in this movement. We look forward to growing our own roots in this growing community. We also know that we will be inspired and challenged to honor its integrity and demands with food that is lovingly made and always exceeding the highest expectations. The seeds have been planted and the sprouts are shooting up. And as cliche as it is – more than a tree grows in Brooklyn.