Updated: Sep 25
Not sure what to do with your excess produce? Did you plant too many beetroot or have an abundance of cabbage ripening at once? Wanting to share or swap your produce for something you have not grown? Pop along to the next Cropswap to share and swap your goods.
The idea of starting a local Crop Swap came out of the lockdown in March which generated an increase in interest in gardening for many people as a way to use the extra time at home. This has the added bonus of more people growing and eating healthy food which increases food security as it decreases the reliance on produce being brought in from out of the region. This can become costly and hard to source at times which the region experienced during the lockdown. A Crop Swap is about sharing produce, seeds, seedlings, baked goods, preserves, pickles as well as knowledge and wisdom while building community connections and resilience.
Faiawa Farms in Waipapa started a Crop Swap for the region in June which is now a fortnightly event. The first gathering was attended by 70+ people which indicates the level of interest in this type of venture.
Pat Davis, a Te Pokapū Tiaki Taiao o Te Tai Tokerau Trust Board member (Far North Environment Centre), active Timebank and Transition Town member and Eco Centre volunteer is the driving force behind getting the Kaitaia Crop Swap started. Pat is passionate about food security in the Far North and believes in getting people back to using their basic skills in general living. She walks the talk with her community involvement around initiating and supporting projects to achieve this. The Kaitaia Crop Swap operates out of Anō Anō on Bank Street on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 11.30-1.30pm. Produce from the Community Garden on Puckey Ave, which also sits under the management of the Trust, is brought to the Crop Swap to share with those who come along. For more information, pop into the Eco Centre, Shop 5 Bank Street, or visit the website www.ecocentre.co.nz.
There is interest in starting Crop Swaps in regional hubs as a way to increase community support and interaction and build community resilience. Paparore School has offered to be the venue for a Crop Swap for the school community and surrounding Sweetwater area. It is proposed that this will happen on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 2.45 pm starting in Term 4 from 22 October.
Anyone interested in being part of coordinating the Crop Swap can call Nicola Robb on M: 021 134 0976 or E: email@example.com. There is also interest in starting others in Pamapuria and possibly Whatuwhiwhi. Please call the Ecocentre on 09 408 1086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
The beauty of a Crop Swap is that it does not require resources apart from a venue and interested people to get started and can be a great way to meet people and pick up tips and tricks for growing and producing food and reducing living costs. Do not be put off if you do not have anything to swap yet come along and chat to keen gardeners who can give advice and share their crop with you.