Sharing Your Garden Harvest With Neighbors

Posted on Aug 15 2011 - 2:26am by Mike Lieberman

I was fortunate to have one of the great experiences of growing my own food this past weekend – the experience of sharing the harvest with others.

While on my balcony garden taking care of my mint, I noticed a neighbor across the way harvesting some herbs for their meal. Since my mint container is overflowing, I shouted across the way to ask if he needed any. He came over to get some mint and we bs’d for a few minutes.

Though we have seen each other before, this was the first time that we actually spoke to each other and conversed.

A few hours later, he knocked on my door with some fruit salad that had some of the mint in it. That really brought it all together for me.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the simplest of reasons that we should grow our own food is that because we are human and it’s what we’ve done for hundreds of thousands of years.

Instead of me yapping and talking about it, it was apparent to me that growing your own food does help to bring people together through sharing.

What are some stories that you have about sharing your garden harvests?

  • Edward

    I’ve taken tons of yard clippings from someone in exchange for a bag of hot peppers I grew. I told them that “We’re exchanging compost for compost, just in different stages of the game.” :)

  • Lee R

    My friends and I have a barter system in place,we all help each other with one thing or another…as I have ketchup cooking down on the stove as I write this,I have people waiting in line for a taste and for some of the extra tomatoes.Most of the don’t garden and the ones that do have not had a good year this year,so we exchange produce for things like yard work,general labor,one friend is rebuilding the engine in my truck in exchange for produce and a couple of rabbit cages. :) I may have to kick in a little cash with that one,but we’ll see.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s awesome. Some good ol fashioned bartering.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Hahaha. Good point.

  • Mamasimpson

    That’s great! My son (7) does most of the giving away of produce which I think is awesome. He thinks everyone needs some mint and jalapeños…..don’t they? :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624692882 Katherine Kelley

    We swap and trade for what didn’t work for us this year.  And if we process it into sauce or salsa we swap that as well.  This year I’ll be doing a lot of trading honey for canned tomatoes.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I think everyone does too ;-)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good stuff. Great way to supplement what you don’t have.

  • http://twitter.com/eleftheriag eleftheriag

    Greetings from Greece!! I tend to grow mostly herbs on my  balcony and well I noticed the other day that my neighbor on the 1st floor was growing tomatoes and green and red chilly peppers. I was admiring hiw work and he came out to the balcony and I asked him if he has had any problems in regards to growming them on the balcony and well a while later I ended up with a bag full of chilly peppers ! I am a greek-american who has moved to  small town in the north of greece where most of the population comes from farming in nearby villages so it is not uncommon for anyone to give you produce. To be honest you cant visit a friend or a relative and not leave with a bag of something….NOT DONE. 

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s awesome. Sounds like I may need to move to Grecce ;-)

  • Tris

    My story is more of a bartering story as well.  I grow lots of catnip and give freely to all of the neighbors with cats.  They, in turn, have helped me with heavier house work type jobs that I can’t handle after a recent surgery.  Good system!  :)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Definitely a good system.

  • Juanita Wright

    I have shared almost everything I grow with the neighbors on each side of me.  Both are now widows and my husband and I look out for them.   As a matter of fact, I tell them to just come pick what they want whether I am home or not.  Help yourself, ladies.  If they receive produce that I don’t grow from other friends, they will share that with us.  It’s just the thing to do, I think.  Sharing.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    They are lucky to have you as their neighbor.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good stuff. Way to inspire.

  • Twparks

    Yeah, of course, with neighbors, family members and co-workers before I was laid off. Co-workers really looked forward to the summers in anticipation of my homegrown tomatoes. I get a lot from the sharing, too. Since there is usually more than my household will eat-my girlfriends kids aren’t into tomatoes-it is really good that others will gladly accept any garden surplus. My sharing with one neighbor is partially responsible for them becoming vegetable gardeners. Now they call me “farmer John” and we have had a couple of “over the fence” how’s your garden doing type conversations that I’m sure would have never had happened if we hadn’t both become veggie gardeners. Now my girlfriend’s sister is seriousily thinking about doing something in her small condo outdoor space. It’s interesting something as simple as growing a few tomato plants can help facilitate so much-sharing, human interaction, inspiration, healthier eating options, etc.-.
    By the way, if you have too much that you can’t use yourself or give away to your usual recipents, local food pantries will probably take your extra. There is a web site that connects gardeners with local pantries or food banks that will put your surplus to good use. (sorry, apparently I did not bookmark that site or write it down) 
    Mike, great site. I stumbled upon it while searching for info about self watering containers. A wonderful find.
    Oh, by the way, I do my growing in one 4′ x 6′ plot, expanded this year to another 4′ x 6′ area. A lot can be grown in a very small area.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing. That’s what’s up!

  • Jmartinrush

    Love your site!  Was in the process of cutting cans for my recycled garden and looked up “How to Make Flowers?pinwheels using Aluminum Cans”  And there you were…!! Keep up the Good Work!!  I’ve passed the site along to friends and families.  Our neighborhood is putting on a “Porch Tour”  part of the neighborhood council.  We’re supposed to decorate our yards, porches and I want to go with a recycled flower garden using broom and mop handles I’ve garbage picked and the fallen branches from the trees in my yard. We’ll have food, music, face painting for the kids, luminaries, carriage rides.  Before anyone reading this thinks its an affluent neighborhood-its not.  The houses on this 38 resident street has homes in the 35-90 thousand range with most being in the middle.  However, its a great little neighborhood with a VERY diverse population.  Not a perfect place, we have our issues -however I believe its up to us to make it a better one because REALLY… All we have is each other..Since I just bought this house in the end of winter,  it was very exciting  to see what kinds of things came up from the ground so I’d know what it was I was working with.  It was wonderful.  Regarding sharing…Conversation is always one as people walking by always like to comment about the garden and I’ve met many folks  this way.  A friend of ours likes to share his harvests with us and other friends.  We usually just sit around enjoying grilled butter corn one one occasion and deep fried zucchini with sauces the next.  Its cozy, intimate and great eats.   I then joyfully got to return the favor treating them to cucuzzi gourds.  None of us had even heard of them but they were growing like wildfire.  I didnt even know what they were so I looked them up and we all were educated and very well sated.  I have two wonderful college guys living next door and we often treat one another.  I’ve given them tomato and herb plants, peppers, cucuzzi, watermelon and in turn they have given me delicious chocolate (vegan) cake,  and mow part of my grass.  We’re going to extend the garden into their front yard next year for a communal garden between the two us.  My dream is that someday we can extend the garden down the block and then have a float made from recycled materials featuring what we do in our wonderful, quirky parade.  Pass it on!

  • Jmartinrush

    O sorry its me again,  just wanted to say that I send herbs, veggies back with my son when he returns to college.  He uses them when its his turn to cook-  There’s a group of friends that rotate meals at one another’s homes.  He’s a gardner too, and loves cooking along with biology and neuroscience!  When he comes home he sends or brings me items from his garden.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s awesome. Be the change that you wanna see.