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Top Five ... Share & Swap Food Programs

The Age

Saturday January 10, 2009

Tessie Vanderwert


HOW'S the vegie garden coming along? If faced with a summer of endless lemons, basil and lettuce leaves but no corn, tomatoes or coriander, venture out to a fresh produce swap day and trade your excess home-grown items for things you need. CERES in East Brunswick held its first swap day in 2004 with just 35 locals. Today up to 200 north-side residents exchange otherwise wasted fruit, vegetables and herbs in the weekly meet co-ordinated by Brad Shone, thus reducing green waste, landfill and food miles. Occasionally, jam, flowers and seedlings are brought and traded - no money changes hands. Live in the area and would like to join? Download the flyer from

Stall at the CERES Organic Market each Saturday, 9am-1pm, corner Roberts and Stewart streets, Brunswick East. Phone 9387 2609


Fitzroy's home-grown edibles swap has held monthly meetings since March last year, offering local growers the chance to trade herbs, vegies, fruit and nuts. Would-be gardeners looking to get started can pick up seedlings and receive advice from growers. Between 30 and 50 locals attend, and those who have no garden space at home can bring jams, relishes, pickles and preserves they have made with excess fruit from their neighbours. A sauce-making session will be held at summer's end with excess tomatoes, the goods going to a local group providing lunches for disadvantaged community members.

10am-1pm first Saturday each month. Next meet February 7, anniversary and harvest celebrations March 7. Smith Reserve, Alexandra Parade, Fitzroy, at parkland next to Fitzroy pool.


At the western swap meet, regional backyard growers gather once a month outside the Grasslands Organic Grocery to share their harvest, from vegetables and eggs to eggplant and sourdough. Organised by Neesh Wray, like-minded locals also meet to share tips, ideas and recipes.

First Saturday of the month, 10am-midday. Pavement outside Grasslands Organic Grocery, 211 Nicholson Street, Footscray. Phone 9362 0830


What if you're a hospitality business, farmer or wholesaler who throws out unwanted, surplus good-quality food? Consider Second Bite, a not-for-profit organisation that rescues and recycles nutritious food destined for the bin. The program, which began in 2005 with just a few boxes of food, now redistributes 20 tonnes of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and deli items each month to more than 70 food relief agencies helping homeless and disadvantaged people.

Second Bite, 51/ 50 Lloyd Street, Kensington, phone 9376 3800;


Some of the food salvaged by Second Bite is given to Fare Share. Since 2001 the organisation has given away meals to the hungry and homeless using food donated by more than 80 businesses. Recently moved into a new kitchen, Fare Share receives no operational funding from government yet aims to provide 1 million meals each year. Prized edible items include meat ground too finely, cheese, fresh produce that doesn't look perfect but is otherwise fine, unsold fresh bread, puff pastry and packaged items. More than 100 charities, community groups, soup vans, shelters and schools receive Fare Share's food relief.

Fare Share, 1 Thompson Street, Abbotsford, phone 9428 0044; -- TESSIE VANDERWERT

© 2009 The Age

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