Community fruit and veg stands

Thinking about how much excess produce he had from his small garden, Mark Dennis came up with the idea of setting up a community fruit and veg stand in Helensville, so people could share their spare produce and prevent it going to waste. He and his partner Rachel first set up a stand on Puriri Street, building it out of recycled materials. When the community asked to have a similar stand in Parakai, they set up another one on the corner of Parakai Ave and Rere place.
People drop off their spare fruit and veg into the stands, providing a great variety of locally grown produce for everyone to share. “People don’t need to trade or swap or be in need to use the stand, it’s for everyone” says Mark. “The success of the scheme relies on the generosity of the community to keep the stands full and in return provides the community with amazing fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables.
So far has it’s been a big success. Both stands have been filled daily with everything from apples, lettuce, avocados, zucchinis, chillies, plums and passion fruit to preserves to tinned fruit. “I keep an eye on the Helensville stand and compost any old produce, and Amy Evans does the same for the Parakai stand.”
Mark has set up a well-patronised Facebook page, ‘Community Fruit & Veg stand’, to keep people updated on how the stands are going and the idea is spreading. “After seeing our group, the Baylys Beach community are now building a stand and a family in Masterton have said they’ll be building one for their community too.”

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