Food swap to share garden excess with like minded people
The Outer Eastern Food Swap (formerly Croydon Food Swap) started with humble beginnings. Karen Cheah was looking for a source of coffee grounds for her garden and she doesn't drink coffee. Through the Transition Towns Maroondah (TTM) mailing list she found a way to collect coffee grounds from a local cafe. After doing this for while, she learnt that TTM was looking for someone to initiate a food swap. Karen has a few fruit trees such as plum, fig, orange, lemon and loquat, and even though she invited family and friends to bring their buckets and pick their own, there was usually still excess fruit even after preserving. So the seed was planted (pun only partly intended) and Karen was keen to start the swap meet.
At the first meet there were four enthusiastic home gardeners. During the first winter there was a lot of citrus swapped and it really grew from there. Nowadays there are usually at least 20 people, but at times there are many more, who attend. Sometimes there are speakers or demonstrations which usually attract a greater crowd.
When I first went to this swap, I had known of it for a while, but all I had was lemons and a little parsley, which I didn't think was that interesting. But when someone online mentioned they would love some lemons and mentioned the swap, I thought I'd go and see what it was all about. Well I was wrong about no one wanting what I had and I was amazed at the variety that people brought. There can be fruit, veggies, herbs, seeds, seedlings, baked goods, preserves, even garden magazines, coffee grounds and, at times, manure.
It's called a swap, but really it's more like a share in that you put down what you have and then you can pick up what you like. Sometimes if there is more than one person with a glut of something, there will even be enough to make jams or sauces. But what I love is that regardless of what is swapped, there is always conversation and information about gardening that is shared. So it's great even if you are just starting out with edible gardening. They are a lovely and welcoming group.
Cold frame - one way to protect seedlings in winter
This swap is coming up for its 5th birthday, this Saturday July 1st. To help celebrate, Julie Love will demonstrate how to raise seedlings in DIY mini hothouses that you can make by repurposing materials that would normally get recycled or thrown out. This will give you a head start for spring plantings. You are welcome to attend even with no harvest to share this time, so everyone, especially novice gardeners is welcome.
If you can't make it to this event, this group meets on the 1st Saturday of the month, and there are now also 3 other swaps that are a part of this group, but they have different hosts. 1st Saturday – Glen Park Oaks Community Garden, 30 Glen Park Rd, Bayswater North
2nd Saturday – Red Earth Community Park, Brice Ave, Mooroolbark
They are from 10-11.30am. All are welcome, even if you only have a small excess to share, or are just getting started and want to come along to chat about edible gardening. You can check the website Outer Eastern Permaculture Swap for latest dates and more information. Or you can find them on facebook as the swaps are listed in the events each month