DO YOU WANT A FRESH START?
Get with the program.
1) PLANTS 2) NONPROFITS 3) COMMUNITIES 4) YOU
1) Fresh Start is, first and foremost, a plant swap. A plant swap is an event (get-together / shindig / happening / function / jamboree) where you bring cuttings or starts of houseplants or outdoor plants, seeds, those plants you have left for dead, those plants you have too many of, pots, gardening tools, or whatever you have lying around - and you trade or give them away to others.
Plant swaps are not a new idea. They have been around and are happening all of the time, all around the world. Sometimes there are rules and sometimes there aren’t. Sometimes they are hosted in a backyard with a gardening group, sometimes they are advertised on the internet for strangers to attend and sometimes they happen between two friends.
The way that we view and host Fresh Start is simple - you find out about it, you take a few cuttings from your existing plants, you arrive, you put everything you’ve brought to share on whatever space is available at the moment, and you take whatever you would like. The events are free. The plants are free. We don’t believe in strict rules when it comes to plants or sharing. You don’t have to give one to take one. You can take three. You can take one. You can bring nothing. We trust that you are reasonable. Show up with thirty starts from your one philodendron and leave with one start of a variegated rubber plant and a conversation and a cocktail. It’s fine. We like you and we want to know you and know what you know (or don’t know) about plants.
Why do plants cost money when they grow free?
2) Fresh Start is also a fundraiser event for local nonprofits. In each city that we host a swap, we select a local organization to raise money for through a fundraiser raffle. In the months leading up to the event, we contact our favorite local artists and businesses to ask for donations. We are astounded by the willingness of people to give.
At our inaugural Spring 2018 Portland event, Fresh Start collected a total retail value of $3240 of donations from a range of local artisans, shops, and restaurants, raising a $1000 donation to PAALF through our fundraiser raffle.
At our Summer 2018 Seattle event, we raised money Urban Artworks, a nonprofit providing opportunities for youth and contemporary artists to create public works of art.
This Spring we return to Portland at the Ace Hotel Cleaners Space on April 20th.
What can support look like when we come together?
3) We see Fresh Start as a way to support and exemplify all of the good that exists in every community - the people who want to show up, donate, raise money, and create. We believe this project can exist and grow as part of a community building practice. We want participants to share their knowledge, their time, their plants, and whatever little or much they have in supporting a local cause.
We hope to build community through:
- bringing people together who love plants, want to learn, want to share, and want some sweet new plant varieties that make them happy to care for
- reaching out to local artists and businesses to raise donations for our fundraiser raffles
- working with local photographers and designers to shoot photos and design flyers for our local events
What can we build and create together?
4) We want you to feel excited about growing plants, gardening, your local environment, learning, and creating with each other. We think the real fun of owning plants is watching them grow, learning how to care for them, giving them away, messing up sometimes, seeing them die, seeing them thrive, and not feeling bad about any of it. We want you to get some new plants you love, talk to someone, be a part of something, and know plant care can be something accessible, free and fun.
At our Portland event, we loved seeing what everyone showed up with - plants and stories and knowledge and excitement. Hannah Humphries (owner of Sugar Mountain Vintage) brought cuttings from a jade plant she pilfered from Robin Williams’ yard in San Francisco years ago - she shared their story, she brought meaning to the plants she gave away… and she made personalized hang tags with plant care tips for each of her starts. Strangers told their friends about the event, artists shared their craft, people talked to each other, prizes were won, money was raised. It felt really special.
What can you bring to the table?