Calling all backyard gardeners to swap produce

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Elizabeth Goodfellow… “I get a real sense of community from the harvest swaps.”

A COMMUNITY project that encourages locals to grow more fruit and veg at home is looking for backyard gardeners interested in arranging harvest swaps, says Elizabeth Goodfellow, founder of

Elizabeth started the initiative in 2014 as a way to encourage people to grow 100kg of food a year, bringing communities together to swap and share the results.

She says the most successful element of has been the harvest swaps, where people bring their home-grown goodies to swap for other produce.

“We would really love to see more swaps being organised from now until May,” she says.

“It’s been a learning curve and over the years we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.

“It seems to help if the swaps are held in places that are already on the beaten track, where people are going anyway. The swaps are usually open for an hour or two with people coming and going as they please.

Backyard growers swap produce.

“People bring their home-grown fruit, veggies or herbs, including seeds or plants, to make a fair swap for something else.

“If someone’s there to chat to, that works well as otherwise people seem unaccustomed to sharing and are a bit tentative as to what it’s all about.”

Elizabeth’s website provides a place to share veggie patch photos, knowledge and tips online, as well as to join the initiative and be supported to start their own local harvest swaps.

“We want more people to get involved, whether it’s at schools, workplaces, shops, farmers’ markets or community centres, and we can help to promote them through our social media platforms.

Elizabeth says harvest swaps are currently hosted in Yass on Saturdays and Charnwood on Thursdays, but that she would love to see them around the region and all through the week.

“I get a real sense of community from the harvest swaps, and I love to see how food brings communities together,” she says.

“It’s been far beyond what I expected and we’ve had so much positive feedback from the events and the website.

“It’s a rewarding thing to do, and I especially love it when I see people constructing a meal in their heads from what’s available!”

A Virtual Veg Out will be held online on March 1, where anyone interested can talk with volunteers about how to host a harvest swap. More information at the events page at

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.

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