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Gardeners Coming Together Online to Share Organic Produce

lemons for limesThis is a guest Post by Lori Barudoni, Founder of LemonsforLimes.com, a new online platform for trading garden produce. She was kind enough to share her story!

One of the blessings I enjoyed as a kid was that my mom was a gardener. My mom had a large garden and grew almost everything. I remember large juicy watermelons, sweet cantaloupe, fresh beets, and tall corn. With a summer garden and a winter garden we always had fresh food in our house.

As a college kid I had no time or space for a garden. Then as a young mother our house had big shade trees and no place for a garden. A few years ago I realized that I wanted to get back to fresh food that tastes like it did when I was a kid. I haven’t eaten beets from the store in years because they don’t taste like “real” beets to me.  Store bought peaches? No thanks. They don’t compare to the ones pulled from my friend’s tree in my childhood.

I didn’t have a lot of room to grow things but I had a lime tree that produced more limes than I knew what to do with. Did someone near me have a peach tree overflowing with peaches? Was someone with zucchini tired of baking zucchini bread and looking up a million ways to use zucchini on the internet? Growing up in California I have watched oranges fall to the ground in people’s front yards because they simply don’t know what to do with so many of them.

The question, “What can I do to get back to fresh food?” became, “What can communities do to share the food that is available?” I knew the answer was connecting gardeners and those with fruit trees in a useful, fun, easy to use online platform.

With no website creating experience I dove in. I wanted gardeners to be able to find each other by zip code. The site had to be fun…. photos with the produce listings, a blog for all members. I wanted to reward gardeners listing produce grown organically with a bright yellow happy face next to their listing. And I wanted members to have a “wish list” where they could list the types of produce they would most like to have and receive a notification when another member nearby listed that on the website. Gardeners had to be able to trade on a point system, so that trading didn’t have to be straight across and so that a gardener could  harvest and share tomatoes with another member in August, and use those points to pick up limes, from a member in October. I knew it was a tall order but eight months later, Lemonsforlimes.com was born. The website allows gardeners to do everything I dreamed it would. The best part of the new website is that it allows one person to make a difference. One person can move their community toward fresh food by listing the abundance their garden on the website and by bringing a few of their gardening friends online to trade with them. Those friends then bring a few of their friends and soon that community is growing a network. The network can use the blog listed by zip code to keep in touch about who is growing what, so that there is a wide variety of produce available. The blog can also be used to share local gardening advice.

As more and more fresh and organic food becomes available within the community, the impact on the environment from food being transported so far from its source will decrease which will decrease that communities carbon footprint, local gardeners will have an opportunity to become more connected, and families can enjoy the benefits of fresh food and organic food through trading instead of paying.

My dream now is that someday gardeners in every community will think about what is available to them for free from each other before they look to the grocery store. Is fresh organic food important to you? Do you have a desire to make a difference in your community? Visit Lemonsforlimes.com and grab a few friends to plant the seeds of a trading network in your community.

Note: As a member of lemonsforlimes.com you are not only making a change for the better in your community but you are making a difference in the world too. Membership is only $5.95 a year, and one dollar out of every $ 5.95 yearly membership goes to bring clean water to third world countries. When a third world community gains access to clean water, its child mortality rate drops by half. For more information see “Our Favorite Charity” at the bottom of the LemonsforLimes.com homepage.