In December last year I went along to the fabulous 1 Million Women SAVE Summit in Sydney, which launched their 2012 SAVE campaign. Over the next 6 months 1MW want to assist you to SAVE $1000 or more through cutting pollution, reducing waste and saving energy. Each month focuses on a different lifestyle area - FOOD, DRIVE, POWER, WEAR, SHOP & INVEST.
We think its an awesome practical campaign and we want to help too! So we have asked some of our friends to also give their tips each month. This month’s focus is FOOD and we thought it was a perfect opportunity to introduce you to the fabulous Natasha from the new site for food gardeners Swap, Shuffle and Share…
It’s a warm Spring Saturday morning and I’ve decided that it’s time to move the existing veggie garden beds to prepare for the master plan - which involves more veggie garden beds, but in a different location. So I get to work harvesting and removing the plants in the existing beds. I grab a couple of tubs which are soon full of silverbeet, spring onions, and celery. Lots of celery. I realise that I’m not quite sure why I grew so much celery to begin with. I think it had to do with purchasing a punnet of seedlings and not realising how many were in there, and having the spare space, I planted them all. Because that’s what you do.
So now I have tubs full of produce and even after giving as much as I can away to friends and family, I still have plenty left over. What other way was there to get the message out? Here was fresh produce, ready for someone to enjoy and I wanted to share it.
How can I tell someone where I am, and what I have to share? How can I reduce the waste of too much excess produce ending up on the compost heap? How do I connect with people around me feeling the same way?
I researched online and found food swaps through social media, websites and online gardening forums. I joined the local permaculture group. But communication was fragmented and it was frustrating that there wasn’t a single place that food gardeners could call ‘home’.
I started mapping out what I wanted in a site for food gardeners and what I would need to do to get it online. Having worked alongside many businesses to build their websites in my role of Director of a graphic design studio, I was able to utilise existing contacts and get some great feedback on what would make a great site for food gardeners.
Swap Shuffle Share was built around an online forum that allows members to sign up and create or join groups that are local to them, or members who share an interest. This is where most of the activity takes place with members sharing their produce, ideas, experience and inspiration. The site features a resource section with informative articles and delicious recipes submitted by members. A directory is also online with listings of businesses, food swaps, local markets, jobs available and positions wanted, and items of sale, swap, exchange, or free.
As the site grows Swap Shuffle Share will become a valuable resource and essential destination for the food gardeners across Australia.
So now I don’t have tubs of celery - if I have too many seedlings in a punnet I will plant the extra into small pots to take to the next food swap. If I do have too much, I harvest it and share it with neighbours or post a call out to my Swap Shuffle Share group to let them know it’s available. And what I get in return is a sense of community, the knowledge that someone is enjoying my home grown produce, and a basket full of fresh produce from a fellow gardener that helps fill the gaps of what I don’t have in my garden. I am hoping that all food gardeners can do the same. Membership to our website is free.
Start a conversation at www.swapshuffheshare.com today.
About the author: Natasha Kuperman is the founder of Swap, Shuffle and Share and a keen novice food gardener with an unruly backyard that is slowly being transformed into a productive garden!
You can also connect with Swap, Shuffle and Share on facebook and twitter