How Our Local Crop Swap Helps Backyard Gardeners

Do you have an abundance of asparagus? A plethora of parsley? Loads of lemons or excess eggplant?

This guest post story is written by Lucy (Sustainability Engagement Officer) with Lake Macquarie City Council. All images are courtesy of Lake Macquarie City Council.

As a backyard gardener, there’s nothing better than collecting a bountiful harvest from your home garden, but there comes a time when too much of a good thing can become a problem.

An oversupply of any fruit or vegetable can lead to food waste, not to mention the disappointment of growing delicious produce only for it to go uneaten. However, sometimes no matter how much you bake, pickle or preserve, you are still left with a sizable surplus of a particularly bountiful crop.

Events like the Lake Mac Grows Crop Swap are perfect for helping our backyard gardeners with their homegrown oversupply.

The Lake Mac Grows Crop Swap

Lake Mac Grows Crop Swap events are about reducing food waste, building community and eating locally grown produce for less.

Each month, the free Crop Swap events allow our local community to:

  • Find a new home for excess harvest, whilst picking up delicious fruit and vegetables or garden goodies for themselves
  • Share knowledge, gardening tips and tricks, as well as give support and advice.
  • Meet like-minded people in the community. 
  • Connect with local growers

Crop Swap is more than cultivating and sharing produce – it’s about nurturing kindness, generosity, connecting with others and learning grassroots gardening knowledge.

Anna is a regular at the monthly Crop Swaps – “there is always something to learn and something interesting to take home and try to grow or eat. They are a lovely, monthly reminder of local people’s generosity”.

Caves Beach resident Helen also loves the Crop Swap get-togethers to meet other “like-minded gardeners to have a chat, exchange information, encourage sustainability and be enthused about all things gardening…!”

From Beginners to Experienced Gardeners

From experienced gardening gurus to beginners learning to grow herbs on their kitchen windowsill, everyone is welcome at Crop Swap no matter where they are on the home growing spectrum.

If you’re starting out with your backyard gardening journey, come along to one of the swaps.

Keen gardener Georgie encourages anyone in the community to come, as “it’s so welcoming, even if you only have newspapers to swap!”

Grow and Share with Others

The way that Crop Swap works is simple: bring whatever you have to share, place it on the communal tables and then take what you’d like from what others have brought. There are no direct trades, bartering nor money exchanged.

What’s Accepted

The Lake Mac Crop Swap accepts all homegrown or homemade produce, including fruit, vegetables, herbs, seeds, seedlings, honey, plant cuttings, homemade cooking from your produce, eggs, as well as other garden-related items such as worm tea or shell grit.

You can also bring non-food – but backyard gardening related things – to share that support homegrown backyard gardens to flourish and thrive, including egg cartons, hessian sacks, empty pot plants etc. 

Event Details 

The Lake Mac Grows Crop Swaps are on the last Friday or Saturday of each month – Covid-19 restrictions pending – between 9am-11am at various community gardens around Lake Macquarie.

Toronto resident Felicity is a regular Crop Swap attendee who really enjoys going to different Crop Swap sites – “it’s a wonderful way to see, and get inspired with what the different groups in Lake Mac are doing”. You’re welcome to stay for as long as you like! 

Upcoming Crop Swap events are advertised on the Lake Mac Grows Facebook group here.

Lake Mac Grows Online

The Lake Mac Grows Facebook group is an online space for the community to connect on growing, sharing and eating fresh local produce sustainably.  The group’s motto is to “Share your story, your skills and your harvest and eat better for less”. Group members are encouraged to share their advice, experiences, queries and ideas about their home growing journey.

About the Author

How Our Local Crop Swap Helps Backyard Gardeners

Lake Make Grows (Lake Macquarie City Council)

Lake Macquarie City Council runs the Lake Mac Grows Crop Swap as part of the Lake Mac Grows program. Head to the Lake Mac Sustainable Living page here for more detailed information or the Sustainable Neighbourhoods webpage for other sustainability news within Lake Mac. Go here for where to find Community Gardens in Lake Macquarie, which aims to educate and support the community to build skills to grow food from home.

Growing your own produce empowers people and communities to become more self-sufficient and resilient, not to mention providing an affordable and healthy food source.

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