{FSC SWAPPERS} home sweet home

For the first time since the inception of the FSC Swappers, we have permanent homes for both food swaps. Not only that, but they are new in both locations.

Home Sweet Home.

Our business location in Saratoga Springs is the same, Common Thread Saratoga, but owner Ashely moved the store from the artsy Beekman Street to Broadway, the busy ‘main street, of the city! The store is spacious, and bright, I couldn’t be more excited for Ashley and her staff. The swaps would be NO WHERE without Ashley’s willingness to try something new and suggest, in an email a few days after Ms. Kate Payne’s first visit to our area, (and our first swap) “Hey, if you want to host food swaps again, you can have them at my store“. YES!

Now, our Albany Food Swap was a different story.This is where the relief of saying the phase’ home sweet home’ has weight. Its been a long road to having Linda & The Oakwood Community Center open their arms to having FSC in their expansive space. For most of the FSC Swappers, they’ve heard my stories of ups & downs trying to find a permanent space. Food swaps are an interested community event because it includes the consumption & swapping of homemade food. I take great strides in being 100% compliant with all of NYS Health Department codes, hence the strict ticket registration, the no-fee, the 1-for-1 (no money exchange), and the ‘swap at your own risk’ agreement each swapper has to sign before each food swap. But the simple fact that home-cooks swap food for food is a problem. It rings alarms, it sounds the panic button. I understand, everyone is worried about being sued over food poisoning or anaphylaxic reaction or NOT being compliant with NYS Health Department regulations. In addition, the spaces that would even ‘consider us’ wanted a for-us hefty sum of money (tough request).

I get it. I’m a reasonable person, but the further down the road I got filling out more & more applications and basic inquiry emails and getting denied the more stuck I felt. Do we even try to continue with this idea?! Why aren’t there more ‘community’ spaces in our area?!?!

We started at All Good Bakers, and we would have stayed had the space been bigger. Britin & Nick are wonderful hosts, warm and inviting (with good leftover food too!) Our second space was also fabulous but the business owner ran into some unthinkable and unkind issues and we needed to stop using the space after December’s Cookie Swap. We cancelled January’s swap simply because I was not in the mood for the swap-location-hunt post-holidays (and all of my family’s birthdays). So I waited.

And waited.

And pondered the end of FSC Swappers.

And then, I sent an email to a few connected food people in the area, including Amy Halloran, who instantly connected me with Linda. Linda is the mastermind and passionate soul behind the Oakwood Community Center on 10th & Hoosick in Troy. An old church that is being transformed into a community center with each & every community event. After writing Linda my usual extensive “let me list the ways we are 100% NYS Health Department regulation compliant” emails, she called me and left me a message that I still haven’t erased from my cell. “Hi Christina, this is Linda from the Oakwood Community Center, I just read your email and your swaps sound fun. I don’t see why you couldn’t use our space. Call me so we can talk.”

…and breathe out… relief.

I took the space, sight unseen, on the spot. I agreed to pay for the use of the space as I knew it would go to good use (keeping the lights on for instance) and as a gesture of belief in Oakwood. The community needs this space. WE need this space. Thank you Linda.

So there it is. Linda opened up the space to Christine & I last on Sunday February 26th, an hour before the swap would begin and I think our mouths dragged on the floor in disbelief during the entire tour. A full kitchen? A photocopier? 10-20 tables?! A ‘living room’ area with a tv & stereo? Two bathrooms? Stacks & stacks of chairs?! A HUGE, open space?!? B-E-Y-O-N-D my imagination.

Home Sweet Home.

Oh, the swap! There are no words for how electric it was. We doubled our numbers (40+ swappers) and we filled 10 tables to the brim with everything imaginable. For the first time ever we ran out of swap cards! Christine & I had to reenact a ‘swap interaction’. New swappers, returning swappers all happily sampling, talking, sharing recipes and swapping. There were many times, in between my panic attacks (what?! We ran out of swap cards?! What we need to set up more tables?!) that I kept looking at the massive group and felt so content. This swap will not only survive but thrive in that space.

Now…join the fun!


Troy Food Swap
Sunday, March 18th
Oakwood Community Center
313 Tenth Street, Troy, NY
SNAG A TICKET HERE (as of Sunday night, only 6 tickets remain)

Saratoga Food Swap
Wednesday, March 21st
Common Thread Saratoga, 508 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY

***All the glorious swap photos are by new swapper, Elli!
Check out her blog at Story Cooking.


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