Putting a can on a popular Truckee/Tahoe food swap

Jenny Goldsmith
Special to the Sun
Jenny Goldsmith/Special to the SunCanned goods are among the many food items swapped with Slow Food Lake Tahoe.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; As food swaps and public potlucks grow in popularity across the nation, Truckee-Tahoe foodies have been warned to tighten the lid on local, community-based exchanges.

Members and friends of Slow Food Lake Tahoe gathered on Oct. 30 at a private location to trade and barter for homemade, homegrown foods and#8212; an event originally slated to take place at the Truckee River Winery, but was relocated to an undisclosed residence in order to comply with Nevada County Environmental Health Department regulations.

and#8220;We didnand#8217;t shut anything down,and#8221; said Nevada County Environmental Director Wesley Nicks in an interview last week. and#8220;We advised them they were in violation of food safety codes, and they chose to move the event.and#8221;

In California, any food provided at a public retail facility must meet food and safety regulations set by the state legislature and must be from a known, pre-approved source.

Upon seeing an advertisement for the October food swap in the Sierra Sun, environmental health department officials contacted Slow Food Lake Tahoe board members to warn them of the violation, Nicks said.

After hosting three successful food swaps, members of Slow Food Lake Tahoe decided not to cancel their fourth event and promptly rescheduled it at a private residence in order to comply with state regulations.

and#8220;The event was still very successful and#8230; just as many people came as had originally signed up,and#8221; said Polly Triplat, Slow Food Lake Tahoe board leader. and#8220;My take on it is that it actually ended up being a positive thing because we are getting more educated on exactly what we need to do to stay in the guidelines of the health department for the events that we hold.and#8221;

The nonprofit organization plans to meet with the health department in mid-December to discuss food safety codes, permitting and options for keeping the event open to the public, said Slow Food board member Kevin Drake.

and#8220;I hope this is an opportunity to get our foot in the door, to have a conversation about it, and build some allies that get it and are willing to help us make this happen,and#8221; Drake said. and#8220;We want to make this totally open, accessible and visible to the public so there is a real educational value in doing it and weand#8217;re going to try to find a way to make that happen.and#8221;

While Nicks may not single-handedly be able to offer a solution, heand#8217;s hoping to put the grassroots organization in touch with legislative officials who may have some answers.

and#8220;Iand#8217;ve reached out to the organizers to get them set up with committees that work with local health officers and the California Conference of Environmental Health so their voices can be heard within circles that can affect legislative change,and#8221; Nicks said. and#8220;I donand#8217;t know if theyand#8217;ll ever get exactly what they want, but at least their positions can be heard and considered by legislative body to effect change.and#8221;

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