SIGN ME UP: Helen Robertson at Iluka Markets with her heritage vegetable seedlings.
SIGN ME UP: Helen Robertson at Iluka Markets with her heritage vegetable seedlings.

Fresh idea for vegie trading

BARTERING backyard produce just got a whole lot easier in the Clarence Valley.

If your backyard vegie patch is overflowing with a bumper crop of tomatoes, zucchini or any other type of home-grown produce, Grafton's Jon Melville wants to hear from you.

A keen kitchen cook, Mr Melville's vision is to bring together as many local growers as possible and unite them via his new Facebook group, Clarence Valley Online Home Grown Market.

"I love to cook fresh food but we have a tiny court-yard garden and can't grow much for ourselves," Mr Melville said.

"We did try growing lettuce, but then we had 20 all at once and we had to throw most of them away.

"I thought there must be many people who grow food and then can't use it all."

Since he launched the group about three weeks ago, there's been a lot interest from throughout the Clarence Valley.

Helen Robertson has recently joined.

Helen and her husband Steve grow more than 40 varieties of heritage vegetable seedlings on their acreage at James Creek.

While most of the seedlings are sold at local markets, Helen is hoping to make more connections through the group.

"This is a great portal for people to share good, healthy, fresh produce," she said.

Sharon Lehman operates Hands on Nature, a Grafton-based business consulting on environment and sustainability.

She agrees the idea is perfectly suited to social media.

"It is such a wonderful grassroots idea," Mrs Lehman said.

"The biggest thing I love, and bang on about, is that we, the consumers, have the power with the way we eat and spend our dollars.

"I see his page as a wonderful sustainability initiative and enabling even the smallest backyard home grower to trade an extra pumpkin for a dozen eggs.

"I've learnt change in the world needs to start at this level - bringing back the community spirit."


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