I want to share a link to an interesting program that networks local growers and local food eaters together based on proximity. It's called RipeNearMe and it's free to join. You can find out what is ripe and ready to eat near you and also, if you have excess produce in your own yard, you can register to swap your homegrown food for other local produce. Seems like a great way to eat local/sustainable, share/receive surplus AND build community all at the same time.
The concept is simple: you’re able to list any food that you grow yourself, or post produce growing in a public space. As a ‘grower’ you can add as much as you grow (there’s no limit, and it’s free) and determine whether you want to swap, sell or giveaway your spoils. Others do the same and everyone’s food gets pinned on the global map for some very interesting online foraging!
By default, when you list your food on RipeNearMe it has the status of "growing". That means you can add your mango tree (or whatever) when they’re not in season, leaving it set as "growing". If you live close to that mango and you know you want some when they ripen, you subscribe to it. When they are ripe and ready to harvest, you'll receive an email reminding you to get in touch with the grower. Or you can add your tomatoes as "growing" when you know you've got a good crop and change it to "ripe" when they're ready to pick. By then, hopefully, you'd have people close by subscribing to your tomatoes who would receive an email when they're ripe reminding them to contact you to buy (or barter). You can do the same thing when you're growing lemons, apples, macadamias, asparagus, peaches or lettuce. Honey, bees wax and eggs of all types may also be added.
Looking at it from the buyers' perspective, imagine having 50+ subscriptions within a few miles/kilometres of your home. What if you had an email every other week letting you know there’s some food (silverbeet, eggs, tomatoes, oranges, potatoes, honey, durians, etc) for you to collect from a neighbour?
This program is just starting off now and it needs help to get up and running. It needs people like you and me to support it by listing what we're growing. Without that, it won't work. So please think about supporting it. We are all self-reliant people and this is a hands-on program that will help us bypass the supermarkets and get the freshness that we all crave. Cutting out the transport of huge amounts of food will help us all and this can be the start of that. There is no doubt about it, this is not just about food, this is about building community and taking food out of the hands of big business.
Please note I have no commercial interest in this program.