Could We Please Have a Booth – For Free?


Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-01-2011

As we start a new chapter of RIPE (yes, we now begin RIPE Arcadia); I find myself looking for ways to promote this new community. Today I called to see about being able to be a part of a “going green” fair in Arcadia. This made me understand the term “Cold Call” as I found myself trying to explain what a RIPE Community is to a person who had never heard of anything like a Residential In-season Produce Exchange within the community. Well, I suppose not too surprising that she had not heard of anything like us, in that we were the first to break ground in this way in the Los Angeles area.

On the other hand, you never know, sometimes good ideas travel fast. One time I was on a wild food forage and talking with one of the participants. He asked “What do you do?” and I replied with several “things” that I did – Optometry, grafting – when I got to “started RIPE Altadena” his reply was a quick sucking in of wind followed by “Really! it was you! You started RIPE Altadena?” to which I replied “You’ve heard of it?” His response was, “Well, yah, all over the place.”

But today while talking on the phone my fame did not precede me. I could hear myself, I was listening in to see if what I was saying was making sense.
The conversation went something like this:

“We are forming a community in Arcadia where we trade backyard produce within the community, our new group will begin with about 15 members.” (me)

“You want to have 15 members at one of our booths? I don’t think a booth space will hold 15.” (her)

“No, actually I think one or two people at a small table telling people about our group will be plenty.” (me)

“Our fair is about healthy living. People will be selling things. Your group is about fruit and vegetables, is it organic?” (her)

“We encourage our members to use organic practices. Most of our group is very conscientious about eating locally, and being healthy.” (me)

“Well, it sounds like you would fit in. You could sell your produce at our fair and explain to people that it came from your back yard. We will have people selling their products that are healthy at our fair.” (her)

“Uh, we don’t sell anything. We just give it away when we have extra so we don’t waste it. Or we trade sometimes, like a swap. I suppose we could give the people at the fair some fruit from our back yards. I know! We will have lots of citrus, especially grapefruit. Or, I suppose that maybe we could sell eggs, some of our members have chickens.” (me)

“Oh that wouldn’t work, our fair is Vegetarian, we don’t even allow fish.” (her)

At this point I could hear that there was a notion of how the fair was supposed to work, and I was throwing her for a loop. I gave up on the eggs and continued with how the people at the fair would be getting freebies from us – mainly I was trying to sell her on a grapefruit-give-a-way. But I was in familiar territory, as I had peddled my grapefruit by the bucket-full at many a park swap, convincing many members that they needed to take them home!

We worked our way finally to the $50/day fee to have a booth.
If you thought that convincing her to have us in her fair was tricky, what came up next really threw her.

“Well, we don’t sell anything, so we don’t make any money, so we couldn’t actually pay for a booth.”

I left her to contemplate the idea of being able to get local, fresh, organic produce, all without a charge. She was not quite as confused at the end of our call, and was also clearly impressed.
“I really like you and what you are saying” she said “but I will have to explain this to the rest of our committee.”

I’ll keep my fingers crossed……..