“It’s like bringing back the days when I was a kid, when everyone grew produce in their backyard. You would just share what you grew between your neighbours”
Atlanta’s passion for permaculture and food sovereignty and Ben Hunt’s excess backyard produce has turned into the Jong Jetty Produce Swap, a produce sharing event they run together.
“We met at work and found we shared similar values, which is why it works so well.”
“Attending Central Coast Council’s Social Enterprise course helped us consolidate our ideas and spread the word and vision for local produce swaps across the Central Coast. There are several in operation now, all a bit different according to who is running it and the local community. They are all welcoming of newcomers and will help you to get started.”
What started off as an expression of interest list at a table at the Long Jetty Street festival has since grown into a thriving and welcoming community event held at Long Jetty.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, share stories, knowledge and produce locally at no cost. Best of all it’s a way to make sure your garden surplus doesn’t go to waste by finding a good home for it, and taking home something different . Everybody is made to feel welcome and if you don’t grow anything or your garden isn’t producing at the moment, that’s fine too.”
The swap happens on the first Saturday of every month at the Country Women’s Association (CWA) Hall, 1 Pacific Street, Long Jetty, from 10am to 11am.The CWA ladies put on a free morning tea to encourage new members to the CWA as well. If you have surplus from your garden you can bring this and lay it out on the table and select what you would like from what others have bought along. It’s all about sharing and learning, and no money is ever exchanged. It’s a great way to learn and share knowledge on sustainable gardening practices and meet new like-minded people.
People are able to swap everything from flowers, herbs, seeds, cuttings and fruit, to vegetables and eggs, and homemade pickles and preserves. As long as it’s home grown its welcome! “You often see things you have never seen in the supermarkets and it just blows people minds.”
Having worked in mental health Atlanta knows the therapeutic benefits of self-care and connecting to nature through gardening and growing things. “It is a great way to increase resilience and support.” The produce swap can contribute to wellbeing through meeting new people, feeling a part of the community and the joy you get from sharing.
“It makes you feel really good and that’s why I want to see more produce swaps across the Central Coast, where we share what we have with more of the community.”
Even if you don’t grow anything yet, everybody is welcome to come along. It is the ideal place to connect to like-minded people and get inspiration. Long Jetty Produce Swap is now an activity of Permaculture Central Coast.
Read what locals have to say about the Central Coast.