“There’s something magical about sharing fresh fruit and veges with total strangers – it rekindles a deep sense of community,” says Adrian Feasey, following a food swap in Beach haven one Saturday morning. “The volume is still small, but it’s a real treat meeting other growers and sharing what you have grown.”
To date, upwards of 20 swaps have happened on the North Shore at several locations and everything from capetown vibrant gooseberries to bulbous kohlrabi to fresh ciabatta have hit the stalls, as well as the expected silverbeet, lettuces and lemons. “One lady brought 9, yes, 9 bags of meyer lemons which were delicious! We’ve also had free range, backyard eggs and worm pee which went in minutes. A huge hit,” says Adrian.
Adrian formulated the idea of a North Shore food swap with the help of Kaipatiki Project Manager, Hamish Hopkinson, among others, and the Trust has been active in providing produce as well as spreading the word. “I knew in theory it was a good ideas but in practice it is wonderful to see it working so well. The Swappers are genuinely awesome people” says Hamish who has staffed a stall.
“Food swapping has proved successful overseas, but like all good things take time to grow. A Melbourne food swap, which has been going for 5 years, now attracts 200 households weekly. Shopping is one of the few activities we all share at a community level and foodswapping presents a practical, easy way to build community while meeting some of your food shopping requirements,” Adrian adds. “As well as the obvious benefit of saving money, it provides access to fresh, in-season (usually non-spray) produce, gardening tips and plenty of great conversation!
Several community gardens are also involved which help provide a steady supply of produce, and a recent pilot at a school is underway to look at connecting school gardening programmes, food swapping and home gardening.
“A spin off has been getting to meet my own neighbours and I’ve now found regular supplies of things I don’t grow at home. I encourage people to give it a try – several times!”
For more information contact Adrian.