Swapping Tips, Stories, Friendship And Food: The Gladstone Food Swap Is An Event For All

Swapping Tips, Stories, Friendship And Food: The Gladstone Food Swap Is An Event For All

After its beginning at the start of March, the Gladstone Food Swap is now a well-established and highly anticipated event for many local growers of produce. 

The event is held once at the start of each month, and at the end of the month every second month at the Gladstone Showgrounds. The Swap encourages people to trade their homegrown, homemade and artisanal goods with other members of the community in a completely cashless environment. Sarah Joan Penny, one of the event’s organisers said that the idea of a food swap helps encourage people in the community to try different things. 

“All people are welcome to come and look around. We are growing a lot of different things, and not everyone has the space to grow everything. Coming together means that people can swap for something they don’t have, or have never tried,” said Sarah. 

As well as the opportunity to swap food and produce, the Gladstone Food Swap also offers a Recycling Program, with old newspapers, egg cartons, jars, plant pots, toilet rolls and gardening extras. 

“We all have access to places to buy things from, but with this we are creating a place to come together and swap our excess. We’d love for people to support us by coming along and joining in, and helping us spread the word. People can also join community gardens, if they’re not able to grow anything at home.”

Alyssa Bush, one of the members of the Gladstone Food Swap said that swapping food not only takes away from financial stress, but also supports healthier living habits.

“I wouldn’t say it’s in support of a cashless society, but it’s about being able to save some money, with the costs of living increasing. By growing food and sharing our harvests, it also helps stop food wastage. It’s also a healthier way of life, as everything is naturally and organically grown, and supports community unity by bringing people together,” said Alyssa.

Syliva Smith, who is another member, said that the Gladstone Food Swap is about more than just trading fruit and vegetables.

“It is bringing together a community of like-minded individuals who are willing to swap their excess produce, circulate seeds and cuttings, impart knowledge when asked, and learn from others. By being cashless it is saying that whatever you bring is valued by this community, and it is priceless,” said Sylvia. 

Food swaps take place all around Australia as a way of reducing waste, and establishing an opportunity for local gardeners and growers to trade their excesses of produce. They also provide a chance for people to swap growing tips, and discuss the impacts of weather and different environmental conditions on the success of growing fruit and vegetables. Of course, they also allow like-minded people to come together and swap stories, ideas, and friendship. 

After their monthly or bi-monthly meetups, the excess from the Gladstone Food Swap is donated to local charities, or to people struggling with homelessness. For the people who are unable to grow food at their own home, community gardens are a great option. There are established community gardens at the Gladstone City Library, the Calliope Library, the Boyne Island Library, and  behind the Gladstone QCWA Hall. 

“We’d also like to thank the Gladstone Showground Society for their generosity in allowing us to access their facilities and use their space to host our event for free,” said Sarah.