By Danielle Kutchel
Each month, a group of community-minded individuals from across the south east convenes by the Westernport for a unique way to fill their pantries and tummies.
The Cannons Creek Crop Swap, as it’s known, has been running for approximately three years now and has been growing steadily in popularity.
People come from as far as 40km away, bearing trays, jars and plates of handmade and homegrown produce to swap with others.
No money changes hands; the crop swap runs on a barter system, where people exchange what they’ve got for what they want.
Crop swaps exist in communities around Australia; Cannons Creek organiser Zorza said she wanted to do something local, to give people a place to go and meet their neighbours and swap their lovingly-produced goods.
Zorza said she has always been an avid home gardener, and has always tried to provide food for herself and her loved ones; the crop swap offers a good meeting of those passions.
It’s also a healing place, creating a network of people with similar interests to meet and share.
Sharing is key to the group, and it’s not limited to physical goods.
The crop swappers regularly share advice and knowledge on home improvements, gardening and cooking, even passing along treasured family recipes for others to enjoy.
That’s “half the joy” of the whole thing, Zorza said – the intangible goods that people bring with them.
In summer, the tables groan under the weight of the physical bounty brought in, with up to 60 people attending.
In the cooler months the number drops, but the regulars keep up the tradition until the weather warms again, Zorza said.
Everyone who attends has their own interest; some are into jams, preserves and pickles, while others are more into growing seedlings and plants.
She described the swaps as “a cornucopia”, where food, plants, pantry goods and even clothes change hands.
“Everyone has something that someone else wants, and it’s free, which is lovely,” she said.
“It works well because everyone is covered, there is so much that comes in.”
She’s hoping to grow the group in future, particularly with younger members as interest in sustainable living grows.
The Cannons Creek Crop Swap is held on the second Sunday of every month. For more information, find the Cannons Creek Crop Swap group on Facebook or follow westernport_microfarm on Instagram.