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Herb Share

Home > Melbourne > Cafes | Free | Gardening | Gardens | Outdoor
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published February 19th 2014
Do you covet your neighbour's herbs?
Image from Herb Share Facebook

I've just been out for my nightly walk. I find it better to walk at night as there less traffic and it is quieter. It is easier to listen to podcasts and the time passes quickly.

Tonight's podcast was called Foods of the World and one of the speakers Cyndi O'Meara was talking about a trip she had just taken to Spain where she had done lots of walking.

On these walks she discovered a virtual banquet on either side of the track. Her party stood shaking trees so that mulberries would fall into their mouths and there were also figs, almonds, grapes and wild cherries along the way.

Apparently when you plant at tree in Spain you also plant a food source that others can share in and enjoy.

Which brings me back to my walk. I must admit that under the cover of darkness it is also easier to be able to snip a sprig of rosemary along the way.

Every second garden grows huge bushes of rosemary along their fence line. In fact it is so abundant that taking a sprig is probably quite kosher.

But wouldn't it be nice if people could openly snip a few herbs here and there instead of wasting all that money at a supermarket, where you are forced to buy a huge bunch that goes off in the fridge.

Which is why I have been taken with the logic and community spirit of an inner city movement called Herb Share

This is a not-for-profit community based initiative, which is drawing up an online map of herbs so one can pick across some inner city suburbs.

People deliberately plant herbs along their fence lines and in back alleyways, so that is easy for people to take a sprig for their nightly cooking.

Some local restaurants are even getting in on the act with celebrity chef Adrian Richardson and his team at La Luna Bistro in North Carlton growing herbs in two big garden beds outside their premises on Rathdowne St.

This exciting movement isn't a free for all. It relies on people taking only small amounts and also making their own herbs available to others.

Image from Herb Share Facebook

People who sign up to Herbshare have access to a map and the sign which you can see here which they display in their herb patch. As you can see it tells people what can be picked and what is regenerating (non-picking items are marked with an X)

The founder of the scheme Ben Hart, grows herbs in a laneway behind his North Carlton home.

Image from Herb Share Facebook

He came up with the idea one night when he was cooking a roast and found out he didn't have any rosemary.

He thought of the futility of driving all the way to the supermarket and buying an expensive bunch of herbs when he only need a little. Then he remembered a neighbour who grew some across the road and went and helped himself to a sprig.

It got him thinking about a map of the local neighbourhood which showed who was growing which herbs and letting people know that it was okay to pick a sprig or two.

You can find out more about the scheme on their Facebook page. (Click here), This is a great initiative with loads of community spirit and I only hope it extends into the outer burbs as well.

Image from Herb Share Facebook

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