New barter business allows people to trade for food

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by Carey Peña

azfamily.com

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 14 at 12:03 PM

PHOENIX -- Cord Moorhead is looking around the Town & Country Farmer’s Market in Phoenix to see what he wants to take home.

There’s a lot to choose from -- everything from fresh fruits and veggies from Pinnacle Farms in Waddell to specialty items like kale chips and super powered honey.
 
Moorhead has his eyes on the Alaskan Pride Seafood booth where he is told the king salmon and halibut are great choices.
 
After all, he has $50 to spend on salmon and it’s not coming out of his pocket.
 
Moorhead just signed up for Edible Exchange. He’s trading his services as a graphic designer for food.
 
“I had a gift certificate for five of the vendors," Moorhead explained with his shopping bags filled with organic carrots and cabbage. "Each of them sells everything from $4 crème brulee to the fish market where I have $50 I can spend today.”

“It feels like I’m a kid at Christmas right now," said Edible Exchange founder Lori Baker. "This has been a dream, a passion of mine for a long time.”
 
Baker’s family started The Barter Group in 1978. Recently, she came up with what she believes will be the next big thing: Edible Exchange. Baker is trying to bring small business owners and local food vendors together.
 
“We approached growers, ranchers, the food trucks, the artisan food vendors and we asked if they would like to barter with, like 500 people,” Baker said.
 
People like Moorhead.
 
The group determines how much his service, graphic design, is worth. He’s paid with Edible Exchange dollars which he can use to buy food.
 
The farmers and food vendors can then put that money back into the system to buy what they need.
 
For example, the owner of Pinnacle Farms needs a new garage door so she will bank enough to buy that door on barter, Baker explained.
 
She hopes the concept will catch on nationwide.

Baker believes this will also introduce more people to fresh foods that they may otherwise not be able to afford or may not seek out at the grocery store.
 
“Not everybody has a passion for shopping at farmer’s markets,” Baker said. “But for those who do – or who would like to – now we’re giving you the opportunity.”

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