Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coburg Food Swap

I went to my first Coburg Food Swap yesterday. What a great way to meet the locals and exchange your excess harvest for items not in your own garden!

I've been to two other food swaps, one we have as part of the Permaculture Inner North monthly meeting, the other was a once off organised at my work by the Permaculture Community of Practice. Most of my produce is at the country plot and not in Melbourne, so I wasn't sure if I had enough to swap. Then I read an article in Earth Garden magazine, where woman saw the food swap near the Fitzroy Pool and just HAD to join it. She figured a few bunches of herbs in the garden should do the trick, and it did.

So I headed out to the backyard which has a lovely rosemary bush and snipped off a dozen sprigs. I thought everyone has rosemary, don't they? Well, if they did, why is it sold in supermarkets? From the potato harvest, I had a few of the purple Saphires in the cupboard so grabbed some of them, too.

I headed down to Pepper Tree Community Nursery, on the corner of Bell and Sydney Rd. It's part of Kildonan Uniting Care (Uniting Church).  The Coburg Food Swap is held from 10am-midday on the first Saturday of every month at 512 Sydney Rd, Coburg (corner Sydney Rd and Bell St).

With my little offering I managed to meet new people and was offered seeds, recipes, cooking tips and biscuits as well as a whole host of fresh produce. I went at the end of the swap, and as people have the tendency to be generous but not take much, I walked away with a full bag, including:
  • apples
  • pears
  • garlic chives
  • two types of chilli
  • capsicum
  • okra
  • warrigal greens (NZ spinach)
  • rhubarb
  • oregano
  • basil (needed some help identifying it, I think it was basil mint)
  • tiny, unusual eggplant

Amazing, no? My recommendation: go to a food swap or start one up. CERES lists a few. Do you know of a good list of food swaps in Australia or Melbourne?

We've all got some excess produce we would prefer to exchange for what we don't have. And don't be shy taking a decent amount of food home with you as you don't want the organiser to be stuck with too much.

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