Colac gardeners bartering for goods

Wayne Mortensen, pictured, and his partner Mary Janssen are sharing their fresh, home-grown produce with members of the newly-formed Otways Garden Harvest Swap Group.

COLAC gardeners are returning to the days of bartering, with a Colac couple starting a food swap group this week.

Mary Janssen and Wayne Mortensen launched the Otways Garden Harvest Swap Group and opened their back yard to district residents to exchange food from their garden and other goods.

“The group can cover from Winchelsea to Warrnambool, the Hamilton Highway to the coast but I think it will become popular enough that we have smaller groups start in other areas,” Ms Janssen said.

She said the food swaps would be monthly at group members’ homes and the gatherings were free.

“You tend to have a glut of vegetables or fruit so it’s a way of swapping what you have for what you haven’t grown.

“We’ve got tomatoes, yellow capsicum, cucumbers, apples, potatoes but people don’t have to bring vegies.

“They could swap herbs, seeds, plants in pots, seedlings, jam jars with metal lids, a bag of sugar, eggs or anything that is homegrown or can be used in the garden,” Ms Janssen said.

“As long as everything is clean and fresh.”

Ms Janssen said people would not exchange money and there would be “no haggling”.

“It will involve an honesty or goodwill system,” she said.

“The food swap is also a community thing about sharing, setting up networks.”

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