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Newport Fruit & Vegie Swap

Community food swap events in Melbourne (Australia), sharing surplus backyard and homemade produce.
Related initiatives: 
Hobsons Bay
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About this project

Date started:
August 2010
Number of people involved:
Number of people benefitting:
Goals or benefits:
Related Transition stage:



A community sharing surplus backyard and homemade produce. These swaps are popping up all over Melbourne.


Two of us were regulars at another swap - the Western Urban Harvest in Footscray (moved to Seddon). In turn that swap is based, as I understand it, on the model developed by CERES. (Go on, google CERES. Its everyone's inspiration here in Melbourne! Lucky Transition Darebin!!)

Outcomes so far:

The Newport Fruit & Vegie swap has been very popular since the first in October 2010. Dozens of people have come together on each third Sunday of the month since. Surplus resources are shared. Swapping the unusual, such as loqats, cape gooseberries, unusual salad greens and even ferments, builds knowledge and values sometimes abundant local resources. Gardening know-how is swapped. And people make new connections in their community. All that sharing!

Unexpected outcomes:

The Newport swap has taken off so fast. Mostly it's people new to these swaps (i.e. not participants to the existing Western Urban Harvest swap). Transition Hobsons Bay wants to help people set up a swap in their local area. It doesn't take much organising, but its worked well for us to have 4 organisers to share responsibilities. Mainly, its a help to have a roster to host (turning up first) the swap. From other swaps we were aware that a tight timeframe (1 hour-ish) works best. Most of the swapping gets done towards the end of the swap. People seem to be busy chatting before then.

Obstacles, and how we overcame them:


We didn't get any permissions from the authorities to use the park as our venue. We felt around the edges a bit and learned getting permission would have meant a lot of paperwork, certificates and money. We asked other groups for their experience. One told us the Municipal Association of Victoria is wildly enthusiastic about these swaps (calling them "low hanging fruit"). The founder of the Western Urban Harvest swap said she didn't like the idea of "recycling" grant money around council departments. I felt vindicated when I subsequently read Sandor Ellix Katz' advice (of 'Wild Fermentation' fame) - never seek permission.

Lessons learned:

We'd probably call it 'crop swap'. It just says it all! (We can't claim credit for this name, but we recognise a catchy phrase when we see one!)

Links and partnerships:

Friends of Newport Lakes.

Sources of funding:

None - doesn't need much.

Sources of materials:

Again, doesn't need much.

Further information:

Our swap is held monthly - on the third Sunday of the month from 10:30-11:30am. Its held in a park, Newport Lakes.

At our swap no money changes hands and there's no bartering. On arrival you place your ‘offerings’ on a communal table. You help yourself to other people’s offerings as you like until you leave. In the meantime you chat to others. How lovely!

Is this a Transition group project or other?

Not a Transition project
Last updated: Friday, 30 November 2012


Boyd Lee's picture

Great Idea, hope to start that here in summer - thanks

 thanks for the sample poster ideas and press release too!

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