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Living Lightly column

Food Excess From Your Garden

By Joan Jones,  Trust for Nature Covenanter  

Many of us have had bumper crops of fruit and vegetables this year, but what to do with the excess?

We’ve made jams, jellies, sauces, relishes and soups. We’ve bottled, dried, pickled and frozen to such an extent the freezer and pantry are full. We’ve loaded up friends and family with so much produce it’s become embarrassing. We’ve bartered with neighbours, exchanging green peppers for grapes, green beans for radishes.

Yackandandah, in conjunction with the Lions Club Market, holds a food swap organised by the local community and allows people to swap their excess food in exchange for produce they haven’t grown. This market is held on the third Saturday of each month.

But what happens if the vegie garden and orchard still refuse to stop producing? There is a solution, as many organisations are now offering to take excess food from your garden to share with the needier in the community.

There are several organisations only too happy to accept food donations; these include Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare in Moorefield Park Drive, Uniting Care Foodshare Wodonga, on the corner of Nilmar Avenue and Beechworth Road and the SS&A Club in Albury.

Unfortunately there is an increasing demand for such donations which are distributed to St. Vinnies, Betty’s Place and other charitable organisations in the community. It is hard to believe that in the present day there is a hunger crisis in rural and regional areas.

But a recent Foodbank report revealed that rural people are harder hit by hunger and food insecurity than city dwellers. A startling statistic is that people living outside cities were 11% more likely to have gone without food in the past year.

We associate hunger with undeveloped countries and are often confronted with images of starving children, but it is hard to accept that there are children within our own communities who also go hungry.

For those who may not grow excess produce in their gardens always consider carefully throwing away food. Can someone else benefit from it? Food waste not only increases landfill problems but is environmentally unsustainable. Remember, that for every man, woman and child in Australia we throw away 200 kgs of food every year.

So, reduce food waste and at the same time help the less fortunate in our community.