Two of my fellow RTBG volunteers relocated to Tasmania in the not too distant past and settled on a orchard and vegetable laden property in the Woodbridge area. Their harvests, and those of neighbours and others in nearby areas, have been too large to consume so my friends R and A considered a new way to distribute the largesse across the community. They hit on the idea of accepting donations, collecting the produce and selling it at the regular community market in Margate which is held every Wednesday.
R told me “Our intention is to sell excess garden produce from our local area (the Channel), that we have either grown or gathered ourselves or that has been brought to us and that would have otherwise gone to waste, and to donate the cash proceeds to a local Charity/community organisation/not for profit entity.” After their first Wednesday all proceeds were donated to “‘Kingborough Helping Hands’, a non-profit organisation facilitated by Edna Pennicott that dispenses free food etc out of Loui’s Van in Kingston each Thursday”. Since then primary schools have benefited. But R tells me that, because they are newbies in the area, they don’t know groups who need a donation so will welcome ideas for the future. Ultimately she wants to have enough options so they can draw a lucky ‘winner’ each week.
Meanwhile the produce is rolling in. A and R have been happy to go and pick fruit and harvest vegetables where owners haven’t had the time or inclination, on their request. R tells me “If you have excess garden produce that may be going to waste, please send a message or give us a call. We are happy to come collect, depending of course on where you are, but better still, we can also receive produce donations to our home on Channel Highway Woodbridge, as we have some storage space. We will only be collecting/receiving produce on a Tuesday afternoon for the Wednesday market – we want it to be as fresh as possible – and will not be holding over any produce through the week.” Now every Tuesday they fill their day with harvesting and getting the produce ready for sale.
This couple pay the cost of the stall and any biodegradable bags or boxes required to sell the fruit out of their own pocket. The running around gathering the produce, giving up two days of their time, and any costs associated with the market stall are their generous contribution. So every dollar made from the sales is free to go – and hundreds of dollars are now made and donated each Wednesday. It is an outstanding achievement.
The benefits for R and A are many but include the pleasure of meeting new people in the district. In addition, they are doing their bit to stop waste, share the value of home grown fruits and vegetables, and to provide the community with the freshest produce available. No two weeks are the same – what is for sale is totally dependent on what people offer. Last week, for example, the produce included dozens of boxes of the sweetest greengage plums – how delightful. I wonder what is being sold today – yes today is Wednesday.
A and R started with one market table and already that has grown to two to hold all the produce that has been donated. Produce is sold at market price so as not to undercut other markets stall holders. The growers love it, the market people love it, the customers love it, and those receiving the donations love it.
So, if you have excess food or want to buy some then visit the Channel or if you live there then get involved either by giving or receiving. R helps with market promotion on her flyer: “If you haven’t visited Margate market, do yourself a favour and have a look – it’s very accessible with plenty of parking. It is a delightful space, with some local produce, delicious food for lunch etc, a coffee van (I believe), home-baked goodies, high quality hand-made products and lots of smiles. Margate Hall is clearly loved, very well-maintained, clean, bright and airy, a truly lovely space.” The details of the market are:
1744 Channel Hwy
11 am to 3.30 pm Wednesdays
When you visit the market, please tell R and A you read about their stall on this blog!
Sounds like a great scheme; well done to all involved.
It strikes me that it should be a model others pick up and find a way to make time to do.