Growing the Chowswap community

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dhweber dhweber's picture
Growing the Chowswap community

What can we do to get the word out?

I saw Chowswap in Portland Monthly and love the idea. What can I do to help get the word out? We just moved to Oregon and even though we're 2 hours away from Portland (just south of Astoria) and we don't know anyone here yet, this seems like a great way to get to know like-minded gardeners and get them involved in a community.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

admin admin's picture
thanks for asking!

Hi, and thanks for the post! I've been handing out cards and hanging a few flyers, but the best responses I've got have been when I've posted on Craigslist, when someone has linked to the site on Facebook, and when Portland Monthly did their writeup. I'd suggest you start by putting something up on Facebook or Twitter, if you use those sites. I'd be happy to put a couple posts up on the Astoria Craigslist. I'm very open to any other ideas you might have -- and I'm happy to provide some Chowswap "business" cards to anyone who's interested.

I've also been thinking about sending out a newsletter to everyone who's signed up, mostly just linking to available food, forum topics, and mentioning any new features I may have added. Would people be amenable to that? Is it too invasive?

Thanks again!

nwood1982 nwood1982's picture

I would certainly be interested in the business cards! I've been talking about chowswap a lot lately, but cards would be nice to have.

As to the newsletter, I think there is enough mail in my inbox already.

admin admin's picture
If we do the yogurt/canned

If we do the yogurt/canned goods swap in the next few days, I'll be sure to bring some cards, nwood1982!

The thinking about the newsletter is that, since I set up the site, about 60 people have signed up, but never really posted anything. I was hoping to sort of rekindle their interest. On the other hand, I don't want to annoy anyone with more email...

mountainrabbits mountainrabbits's picture
Posting on craigslist all

Posting on craigslist all over the state would help, that's how I found this :) Also on Homesteading Northwest and Homesteading Today facebook, twitter, google plus, maybe fliers at coastal farms, wilco, etc. anywhere with a public bulletin board. Any local gardening or farming sites, on personal blogs for those that have them. Word of mouth and maybe adding it into signatures in emails and such would get the word out pretty quickly I would think.
I am so delighted to find this site! I would love to get more people on here I think it would really be a cool community and would certainly help everyone with an excess of "something" food or drink related.

mountainrabbits mountainrabbits's picture
A bi-weekly or monthly email

A bi-weekly or monthly email with any updates or reminders would probably be okay if people have the option to sign up for it when they create an account etc.

becca becca's picture

I would take an email update! No more than once a week though.

Maybe you could get some business cards out to the farmers markets? Set them on the community table? Or maybe someday you could host a community booth? (I think they are free!) I'm in Portland, and I would be willing to help any way I can!

kwalker kwalker's picture
Growing the Chowswap community

I added a link to my local(southern Oregon coast) farmer's market group and the gardening group.

admin admin's picture
Thanks, kwalker! Becca -- yes

Thanks, kwalker! Becca -- yes, I really should get out to the farmer's markets. I'm thinking of trying to do something at Sunday Parkways in SE, maybe.

AngelinaE AngelinaE's picture
Linked to my Facebook

I actually found this site on craigslist also - so that seems like a great place to get the word out. I was actually talking about my little hobby farm at work - and a co-worker KNEW about this site - although im not sure she signed up. I will harrass my friends to come take a look. (Especially since im already blogging non stop about my farm!)

admin admin's picture
Hi, Angelina -- post a link

Hi, Angelina -- post a link to your blog! I'd love to check it out.

xacex xacex's picture
I know the proprietor, and

I know the proprietor, and folks that run the booth at the farmers market for a restaurant in McMinnville. Community Plate is a local, whole food restaurant that uses only locally grown food that is within 30 miles of the town of McMinnville. We have a great number of people who live this way in my area, and frequent this restaurant. Let me talk to some of the people I know, and see if we cant get some new members on board out in the Yamhill Co. area.
A jpg. of a sheet of cards that could be printed off would be a great idea for members to print off, and pass out. No need for fancy card printer service cards for members to pass out. I run across a lot of people I could hand cards to that garden, farm, brew, or hunt.

admin admin's picture
Sheet of chowswap cards

That's a great idea, xacex! I'll get something like that up here stat.

dhweber dhweber's picture
Sweet! I'd be happy to pass

Sweet! I'd be happy to pass out those cards at both the Astoria and Ilwaco markets. While both markets are great for people who are selling their produce, we've also run into others who have big home gardens, but not really big enough to set up a spot at the market on a regular basis. Swapping would help!

PortlandHomeste... PortlandHomesteadGuild's picture
Chow Swap Event

To the original question, I simply decided to do the following:
1- Host an event where several ChowSwappers can come trade foods. It will hopefully be like a Chow Swap Supermarket :) Our first 1 should be late Sep/ early Oct- harvest time. Members of this site are invited.
2- Advertise the event "old-school": by word of mouth, postcard flyers friends can literally hand to each other, & Facebook share
-postcard flyers at
-Facebook at
I've found that personal methods like this hold a lot more meaning with people, as well as keeps our community tight-knit.

nettiel nettiel's picture
Chowswap Business cards

I would love some to hand out at work! I am a hairdresser in a rural community and have alot of people that come in and would love this sort of thing! I am so happy to have found you on Craigslist! I love Craigslist! You can send them to me at PO Box 664, North Plains, OR 97133

wolfbytez wolfbytez's picture
A simple suggestion

I am in Albany and I like to look thru the list of foods available...I was wondering if it would be possible to assign a number to the locations on the list. If we knew by looking at the list where it was located we could decide whether to look at the full ad. Maybe a 1 for Portland and just number as you move farther away from Portland?

I would also like to add that I really appreciate your site! I saw it on the KOIN news segment. I belonged to the food co-op in Cal. {starting in the 70's!} and seriously miss having one here.

I would be happy to pass out your biz cards at the U-Picks I go to as well.
Virginia Cusick
1610 23rd Court SE
Albany, OR 97322

Joanne Joanne's picture
Adding a link

I'm adding a link to my meetup group NW Home Gardening.

admin admin's picture
Sorting by location

Hey, Virginia --

On the "list" page, try putting in your ZIP code and the radius you want (it's in km, sorry!). You should be able to see a list of food within, say, 25 km of your zip code. Let me know if that works for you!

Anne Loves Organic Anne Loves Organic's picture
South Coast Oregon

We have a group down here that would like to start it here. How do we get that going?

Debearly Debearly's picture
Southern Oregon

I am not too far from the California border and am hoping there will be others who will find this list. This is a great idea and I am sure it will only grow from here!

Lehner Farm Lehner Farm's picture
Northern Oregon, Southern Washington

Is this site only for Oregon? There is no one offering swap items where I live *yet* But there are many people here that raise great organic produce and such. Also, is it only for swap? That's probably dumb question, but how do you determine value of trades?

admin admin's picture
No, the site is intended to

No, the site is intended to work well regardless of location. The main issue would be that it's not very useful until there's a certain "critical mass" of users in an area. But you're welcome to post your own stuff, and encourage people near you to post theirs!

wolfbytez wolfbytez's picture

Thanks! Did it.

LadyofLegend LadyofLegend's picture
Down in Eugene!

This site is great! I will gladly share this with my Urban Farm and Civic Agriculture classes at the UO! Do you have printable fliers? I could post some around town if I had some!