Story by Rebecca Narrowe | Photo by Loxley Clovis
TITLE: Founder of The Abundance Circle
FOOD TRADE: Vicki Levin swings open her truck’s canopy door, revealing buckets and baskets of fresh fruits and veggies gathered from her Upcountry neighborhood. “Do you need lemons?”
Vicki’s friends shake their heads no.
“Yes! We don’t have any [bananas] yet, but we’ll have lots pretty soon.”
Vicki is a champion of locally grown food, and has won over friends and neighbors—mostly home gardeners, plus a couple of farms—who have become members of what she calls The Abundance Circle. The concept is simple: Grow fruits and vegetables that thrive in your area, and plant enough to share.
GREENS FOR NO GREEN: When members have more ripe fruit on the tree or greens in the garden than their household can consume, they contact Vicki, who picks up the surplus and distributes it to everyone else in the Circle. The day starts, she says, with reviewing her list of “who has what, who wants what, and in which order [to] visit the farms and homes to be as efficient as possible.” She’s loaded empty coolers and baskets in the back of her old truck the night before; by 10 a.m. she’s collecting greens and veggies at one of the farms, assessing what she has and where it will go. The surprise is that this happens without any exchange of money.
Follow Vicki on her rounds in this video interview:
CULTIVATING COMMUNITY: “The Abundance Circle is not a barter,” explains Vicki. “Even when members have nothing to share for months, they continue to receive everyone else’s abundance.” And it’s not just about nourishing food; it’s about nurturing community. “Some days it’s an over-the-fence chat,” Vicki says. “Other times I deliver right into their fridge if they aren’t home. This is an experience of trust and sharing. The day takes about seven hours, including time to be in a relationship with members.”
GROW YOUR OWN: Ten households belong to Upcountry’s Abundance Circle, but Vicki’s dream is for everyone to have at least one tiny garden. “Perhaps it’s just one vegetable or green that is easy to grow in their location. How amazing if other folks began collecting and sharing in their own areas!”
To find out how to create your own abundance circle, contact Vicki at 808-280-7748 or email her at SharedPleasures@hawaii.rr.com.