RIPE communities are local groups of people dedicated to the growing and sharing of produce they grow. RIPE stands for Residential In-season Produce Exchange. The very first RIPE community was RIPE Altadena, which remains the most vibrant and active RIPE community to date. Other RIPE communities being formed include RIPE Arcadia-Temple City, RIPE Carlsbad, and RIPE Atwater Village.
RIPE began from a realization that those of us that grow fruit and vegetables will, from time to time, have too many fruit or veggies ripe at one time. Insofar as what you grow may be different than what I grow, we can benefit each other by sharing our excess with each other. In this way, not only does your surplus get used, but you will have the opportunity to benefit from others’ surpluses. Importantly, that was only the beginning. RIPE Altadena showed that this simple idea could actually generate a vibrant and interesting community.
Communities are created first and foremost by a common interest – a shared purpose. As we met for “RIPE Swaps” and went to each other’s houses to pick up apples, tomatoes, or lemons, we found that we had a lot to talk to each other about. In Altadena, the people living nearby that we would count as friends would double and triple within the year. We met and had interesting conversations with more people in the first year of RIPE’s creation than we had in the previous ten.
But this is more than a personal journey. The discovery that produce generators love to share with other produce generators and can have a great time learning from each other is not unique to Altadena, CA. It is a model that can be adapted anywhere people grow things. That, of course, is where RIPE Communities comes in. This site is dedicated to the spread of the model that we have had success with in Altadena. We hope to see RIPE communities sprouting up all over the place.
So, what will you find on this site? First and foremost you will find links to other established RIPE communities. Membership in any of the communities is free, but you are required to be able to share some produce – these are not communities that are for people who want to buy local, organic produce. Another thing you will find on this site is an opportunity – an opportunity to start your own RIPE community where ever you live. This site will help you understand the model we have developed, and how to apply it in your area.