Too many tomatoes! What to do with additional garden products

Shelves of fruits and vegetables in trays

It's like a small free library, but with fruits and vegetables. It's called a community fruit and vegetable kiosk, and you can create one for your city. Photo courtesy of Love Food, Hate Waste

Reproduced from Love Food, Hate Waste with permission

Community stands of fruits and vegetables are popping up all over New Zealand, offering people a place where they can leave their excess produce to other people.

These small roadside structures make a real difference in the fight against food waste by creating local sharing spaces that allow people to distribute food they do not need.

Created by Mark Dennis, the idea was to provide an avenue for people to share the surplus products of their gardens with their neighbors.

What is the establishment of a community fruit and vegetable stand?

You will need to find a suitable location, build or stock a booth and find a person to handle the booth continuously.

Where is the right place to put a booth?

It should be easy for the public to find a stand with parking available. Private property (courtesy of the owner) is the best place for the stand.

The stands can be placed on the berm outside the property of the manager, but the berm is a board pitch, so it is best to check with them and your neighbors before placing it on the berm.

If possible, avoid placing it near shops, bars, parks and car parks because of the risk of vandalism.

Once you have chosen a location, please inform the founder of the community's fruit and vegetable stand, Mark Dennis, to have the site approved. It will then be added to the map.

How can I build a stand?

Booths must be large, strong and weatherproof to prevent food from getting wet. It should be made with treated wood. Visit the Facebook group of the fruit and vegetable stand community for examples of stands.

If you can not build your own booth, you may be able to find a handyman / woman, community group or local builder to build it for you. Their logo can be added to the booth to thank them for their support.

How will people know where my booth is?

Once your booth is built, it will appear on the map. It's also a good idea to publish articles on this topic on the Facebook group of Fruit and Vegetable Stands in the community.

We encourage you to talk to all your neighbors about these booths, either with a mailbox (if allowed), or using your local Facebook groups or popular social networks in your area.

Can people give food other than fresh fruits and vegetables?

The stands are mainly intended for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as for eggs, but they can also receive small donations of non-perishable foods, such as canned or preserved foods. Cooking at home is also accepted, but other cooked foods are not. [Important note: check with local health regulations especially around any cooked or preserved items, as these vary by country, state/territory/province and locality]

Anyone filing food must make sure that they are fresh and fit for consumption when it is deposited. The eggs and pastry given must bear the date of collection or baking.

Anyone collecting food in the stalls must make a reasonable effort to check that they are satisfied with the quality of the food before eating it. No responsibility is assumed by the person who manages the stand or the person who deposits the food for the safety of the food once it has been collected.

What are the work in progress associated with the stand?

It will require a designated stand manager. This is a very easy job that simply requires checking the booth every day or every other day to remove any old or inedible product.

It's also helpful, if you regularly post updates on social media, to let people know what food is available at the booth.

Want to know more?

Go to Love Food, Hate Waste to download a copy of the complete instructions.

Small Biz Survival thanks Mark Dennis for allowing this article to be published here.

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