Matcham Holgate Produce Share: Lessons Learned

Hand-painted blackboard advertising the Produce Share

Lesson number one

What you need to learn about produce sharing is GET THERE ON TIME! The produce share starts promptly at 10am!

Lesson number two

Things happen fast in produce-share land. We learnt that within about 20 minutes a majority of the produce has been shared. Despite our tardiness we saw how much of an abundance there was to go around! Every person was smiling on the way out with baskets, tubs and even trolleys full of veggies, herbs, cuttings and established plants!

Lesson number three

Generosity and humble acceptance is the name of the game. We learnt today even mushrooms made an appearance at this produce share and managed to grab some beautiful grey oyster mushrooms. It was great to be able to share some eggs from our hens as well.

Fresh oyster mushrooms and herbs in a basket

Lesson four

Permaculture in action is amazing to witness. Dragging the kids along was a bonus for them to be able to see fair share and people care at work. There were lots of conversations about how when we have more than enough it’s great to share that abundance with other people with a spirit of generosity. Realising that we might not find anything to take home was a revelation for children who spend their time working within standardised systems of forced mutual reciprocity. Realising that generosity is its own reward, as well as the fact that it’s not always about ‘something for something’ was inspiring. With so many cuttings going to new homes, we could see earth care was at play here too, contributing to biodiversity in more people gardens and increasing the food for pollinators! Not to mention, increasing the numbers of species in our local community, contributing to food and species resilience.

Permacoach‘s Meg is one of the co-founders of this produce share and explains it all so beautifully in a recent post:

We’re building diverse and connected communities in our gardens and in our suburbs.
We designed our local Produce Share using permaculture (which is why it’s a “share” and not a “swap” 😆

We operate on three principles:

  1. Give generously with no expectation of return
  2. Receive gratefully with no obligation of debt
  3. Share fairly and take only what you know you will use

This is why we’re passionate about community sufficiency rather than self sufficiency. Together we create abundance with much less energy than it would take for each of us to try and grow everything. Our local food system is also more resilient. I recently lost most of my arrowroot to brush turkeys but because I’ve previously shared so many plants with others it will be easy to restock.

Meg McGowan, 2022

Which brings me to:

Lesson five

DO talk about produce share! Share your enthusiasm with others, share the produce you receive, make a meal, hold a gathering, talk about the warm fuzzy you get from going to a produce share. If you don’t have a local produce share reach out and ask for help in setting up your own.

I can’t wait to make it to the next one! It’s on the second Sunday of each month at Firescreek Winery. They also have a Facebook Group called Matcham Holgate Produce Share.

See you there promptly at 10am

A little note: While not ‘Produce Shares’, a little research shows that we have at least three other produce swaps on the southern end of the Central Coast. There is Long Jetty Produce Swap, Avoca Beach Produce Swap and Woy Woy Produce Swap. Share the love, like their Facebook or Instagram pages for updates, support them by attending regularly and talk about the permie principles that make produce sharing so beneficial. I would love to hear how you go!

Words and images by Thea.