Many of us suburban gardeners enjoy an abundance of seasonal produce. Apart from harvesting daily for our own table, most of us preserve and also share with friends, family and close neighbours. When we still have a surplus, the last thing we want is to dump it all in the compost bin. If only we could just swap those 10 kilos of surplus oranges for half a dozen lemons and a handful of walnuts… Our local share & swap tables give us the opportunity to do just that.
How do they work?
First, let me just say there is no dollar value assigned to the produce, you will not get ‘your money’s worth’ because there is no money involved, and neither will you necessarily take home the equivalent of what you brought. Are you still reading?
Good. You can see part of today’s table.
Goods are simply spread out on the table, and people select what they want and need. The share & swap works on a ‘sharing’ or ‘gift’ model. There is no selling, trading or bartering. A ‘swap’ is not a ‘trade’. For example, I want a couple of your lemons and you happen to need a dozen of my oranges – we swap. If you don’t want oranges, I can still have your two lemons. Perhaps you will take home someone else’s surplus walnuts today or… next week.
Make sure that whatever you bring is surplus to your needs. You don’t need it and you don’t want to see it wasted. If you find something you need – and you often will – that is a bonus.
If you never have any produce to bring you may occasionally want to bring some home baked goods, or you could make preserves from some of the produce you take home and bring a few back to share. Perhaps you can share a recipe, a good joke, or offer to help someone in their garden. Other than fresh produce, we can also swap and share, seedlings, seeds, garden magazines & books, ornamental plants & cuttings to propagate, preserving jars, compost, home-made fertilisers…
Interested? Here is a few extra good reasons for participating in a share and swap:
- Connecting with your local community, meeting people from diverse ages and backgrounds, and reducing isolation
- Adding variety to your diet and making your productive backyard even more rewarding
- Increasing resilience by sharing experience and knowledge with others
- Living more sustainably by helping to reduce food waste and food miles
The share & swap model is based on mutual trust and reciprocity. It is a kind of honour system and it works. It happens every Thursday at the Glenelg North Community Centre, Alison Street, Glenelg North, anytime between 9AM and 1PM. Come along and meet June, who coordinates the share & swap table, and fellow sharers and swappers.
“Bring what you can and take what you need”