What to do with surplus food
A significant quantity of food and other garden products are produced in urban and nearby areas.
Often, particularly during the peak productions times of Summer and Autumn, gardeners are unable to use all the food they produce. Much goes to waste because many gardeners are not aware of the opportunities that exist to market their excess produce.
Backyard and small holdings gardeners produce a wide range of food, including fruit (dried and fresh), vegetables, processed foods (pickles, chutneys and jams), mushrooms, honey, eggs and related products such as seedlings and cuttings.
There are a range of options available to gardeners to sell or swap their garden produce. The three main mechanisms in Canberra are:
- swap/donate schemes;
- web based schemes;
- individual retail shops; and
- farmers markets.
Each of these outlets has it’s own rules for sellers in addition to the legislative requirements for products such as eggs and processed foods like pickles, chutneys and jams.
100kilos.org is a local swap and donate scheme. Check for up-to-date information on the scheme on their web site or Facebook page. Currently 100kilos.org operate swap and donate schemes at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, Charnwood at Canberra City Care, 20 Cartwright St, Tuesday to Friday, Murrumbateman Farmers’ Market, Yass at Vinnies Shop, 98 Meehan St.
www.ripenear.me is a web-based swap or sell scheme. It is very simple to register and you can then list your produce on the web site.
Individual Retail Shops
Currently at least two retail outlets, ANU Food Cooperative and Choku Bai Jo, will accept backyard produce for sale on consignment to the public. Contact the owners for details of the current rules.
The farmers markets in Canberra region that will currently accept backyard garden produce on either a casual, seasonal or regular basis are the Northside (Belconnen) and Southside (Woden) markets and the Southern Harvest Farmers’ Market in Bungendore.
For the current conditions for stallholders at the Northside and Southside markets contact the market organisers at: www.canberrafarmersmarkets.com.au.
For the current conditions for stall holders at the Southern Harvest Bungendore markets contact the market organisers at: www.southernharvest.net.au/market.aspx
There are a range of legislation that regulates the sale of food. ACT and NSW have separate legislation.
Growers should make themselves aware of the relevant legislation related to the type of food they are selling in the State/Territory where the market is operating.
For information on registration of a food business in ACT see:
For NSW requirements see:
For Commonwealth legislation that regulates the trade measurements for fruit and vegetables see:
Egg producers must comply with the current Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code 2.2.2 Egg and Egg Products and Standard 4.2.5 – Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Products. For more details see:
Eggs must be individually marked with the producer’s unique identification and the sale or supply of dirty or cracked eggs is prohibited.
References & Further Reading
Make it Safe: A Guide to Food Safety. CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, CSIRO Publishing, 2010. Provides comprehensive and practical guidance on how to control food safety hazards.