I’ve always loved mail and sharing cool things I’ve found with other people, it’s probably why I started blogging in the first place. In early 2012 I stumbled upon a foodie pen pal swap on the Lean Green Bean’s Blog, and signed up.
After participating for a few months and really enjoying it, I was still occasionally getting some non-vegan items in the swap and it got me thinking about how fun it could be to swap with people that were already vegan or already got that part of my life without a lot of explanation. I looked around for vegan food swaps and much to my surprise – I realized there weren’t any. Considering how much we seem to love sharing food & stories with one another it was something that needed to happen.
As I was thinking about the best way to organize a vegan swap locally, serendipity struck, and I wasn’t alone on the vegan swap train. Cat of The Verdant Life posted in the Vida Vegan Con Facebook group wondering if anyone would be interested in participating in a mail-based vegan swap. I claimed Canada and we went from there. A few months later the United Kingdom joined in on the fun via To Happy Vegans .
Through the vegan food swaps people have been introduced to other people, blogs, and tweeters they may have never known about. Fellow swappers have tried great products (and occasionally some not-so-great ones too!), recipes, and treats from all over the country and in some cases even encouraged their local stores to carry them. Overall, the experience has been positive. One of my biggest concerns was that people would join, and then never send anything to their partner, but luckily that hasn’t happened much.
I’ve loved hearing from people that swapping inspired them to blog, inspired them go vegan, or helped them make new friends. It has been a great way to build community and connect with other vegans (and people curious about being vegan).
As for me, it’s also been a bit of a scavenger hunt. Every month I have a new person to find something for. The swap has helped me discover more about the little spectacular things in my own community that I want to share with others, and I’m really happy that other people have been able to enjoy it too.
Canada – sign up here: http://www.meshell.ca/blog/veganfoodswap
USA – sign up here: http://www.theverdantlife.com/p/vegan-food-swap.html
UK – sign up here: http://www.tohappyvegans.com/wordpress/uk-vegan-food-swap/
MeShell is into digital communication, food security, animal welfare, human rights, and humanizing technology. You might have seen her speak at 2011′s inaugural Vida Vegan Con. In her spare time, she likes volunteering, taking lots of pictures, eating, fostering cats with Toronto Cat Rescue, and taking random classes on Coursera.