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SWAPPING PRODUCE WITH NEIGHBORS

When you have recently rented a new apartment or other property, you may feel temporarily out of place if the other neighbors already seem familiar with each other. While some larger apartment complexes in bustling urban areas have historically precluded much intimacy among neighbors, smaller and mid-sized complexes, along with many townhome and duplex communities and mobile home parks, are famed for fostering kinship among those who reside side-by-side. Particularly if you have moved from one city or state to a new one in which you know few people, you may find yourself craving the company of neighbors; and neighbors represent an excellent starting place when it comes to forming friendships.

One way that some renters have found effective in reaching out to the neighbors and encouraging familiarity among all those residing in a building (or block of units within a larger building) is to begin the practice of swapping produce. Beyond its usefulness as an introductory mechanism, trading produce has recently grown in popularity for other reasons as well. If growing your own food and eating locally is an important part of your routine, you might consider looking for a residential establishment that already has a system in place for swapping produce, or perhaps even a community garden with retaining walls. If no such program exists, however, and the grounds are compatible, don't hesitate to suggest the implementation of such a practice yourself.

Saving Money and Resources

While people have differing motivations when it comes to the process of growing and trading food at home, the trend has certainly taken off in many communities, accordingly providing those of disparate motivations common grounds and a viable topic of conversation. Two primary reasons named for engaging in this practice are saving money and saving on resources in tune with an overall "green" lifestyle. If either or both of these thoughts motivates you, remember that you are likely in plentiful company. If you want to find neighbors of a similar mindset without feeling intrusive, you may consider posting a flyer with your phone number or other contact information in the lobby or other common area of the building.

There are many vegetables and fruits that can be grown when you have less than a full, sprawling garden to work with. You will find this helpful if you, like so many renters, have a very small patch of land, or perhaps just a balcony, on which to garden. Make sure that you thoroughly research what foods tend to grow well in the environment you have to offer and the standard climate of your new home. If swapping produce is already a popular activity among your neighbors, asking their advice on which varieties to grow can prove an effective ice-breaker.

Closeness Among Neighbors

Even if you previously have not deemed yourself a natural green-thumb, you may consider growing food for the purpose of swapping produce with the neighbors if it is an established activity in your new residence. Especially if you are learning a new geographical location in addition to a new apartment or townhome, you may not yet find yourself branching out socially a great deal. This can be the ideal time and circumstance in which to try your hand at something new, such as small-scale gardening. When you know that this is regularly engaged in by your new neighbors, trying it for yourself could prove doubly beneficial for you. You might find that you have a new favorite pastime along with an efficient conduit to friendships with your neighbors. Swapping produce with neighbors entails a variety of perks for gardeners.

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