Friendly sharing of food means surplus not going to waste

Exchanging produce at a recent Springvale Food Swap are (from left) Linda McMurray, Margaret Essex and Jenny Shevchuk.
Exchanging produce at a recent Springvale Food Swap are (from left) Linda McMurray, Margaret Essex and Jenny Shevchuk.

MONTHLY food swaps are taking place in the Bega Valley, where participants swap locally made or grown surplus produce, and good conversation. 

Produce exchanged includes fruit and vegetables, homemade jam, preserves and pickles, seeds, flowers, bread, eggs, honey, nuts, mushrooms, berries – even roosters and compost have been swapped. 

Member of Brogo Food Swap John Champagne said the idea came from a Transition Towns meeting about three years ago, where they wanted a simple way to address the issue of food.

“We did one and loved it, and it just kept going,” he said. 

“It’s about making Brogo as a community more resilient to climate change and factors that might impede on our community.

“It’s an easy place where ideas might evolve out of – to start a conversation where things can happen.” 

The Springvale Food Swap began more than 12 months ago, has 30 members and according to member Linda McMurray has been growing each time. 

“The idea was to meet our neighbours, develop a community network to promote and support the concept of local food production - preferably poison free and on a small scale – [and] reducing waste, utilising excess production in a positive way,” Ms McMurray said. 

“Each participant brings along any of their excess produce, adds it to the ever-growing pile on tables, usually extending under and around those tables! 

“Then there is tea, coffee, cakes and lots of conversation. 

“Around one to two hours later people help themselves to whatever they didn't bring. 

“There is no commercial transaction here - it is an honesty system that works really well.”

Candelo Food Swap member Heidi Davison said no money changes hands as it is more about finding a home for surplus produce.

“Food swaps are not just about swapping your surplus produce, but also about community, taking the time to chat to your neighbours, meeting new members in your community, sharing a cuppa, gardening tips, recipes, food plants and seeds,” she said. 

“[They] are designed to make a community more resilient, reduce food miles, improve food quality, reduce food waste and share information.”

FOOD swaps take place at Brogo, Springvale, Cobargo/Quaama and Candelo. 

* The next Brogo Food Swap will take place at 13148 Princes Hwy on Sunday from 9.30-11.30am and for more information email 

* A Candelo Food Swap will also take place on Sunday, between 9.30 and 10.30am at 1900 Myrtle Mountain Rd and for more information contact Emily Stokes on 0407 192 899. 

* In Quaama the food swap will take place on July 13 from 10am until 12pm at Lot 83 Christophers Rd, and for more information contact Tam on 0409 882 944 or 

* The next Springvale Food Swap will take place on July 6 from 9am to 11am at 26 Springvale Close and for more information contact