South coast Grow Free produce-sharing carts start to flourish

GROW FREE: Andrew Barker of Middleton and Stacey Lang with Isla Lang, 2, of Victor Harbor, with one of the Grow Free produce carts.
GROW FREE: Andrew Barker of Middleton and Stacey Lang with Isla Lang, 2, of Victor Harbor, with one of the Grow Free produce carts.

REGION – An idea that sprouted on the south coast is starting to bloom and spread its roots much wider, with an emphasis on free, organic and locally-grown produce.

Grow Free sharing carts are popping up all around the region, allowing people to donate excess produce grown at home. Any members of the community are welcome to take produce from the cart.

Middleton’s Andrew Barker started the idea, with a vision of a community where locally-grown food is shared for free.

“The carts are a medium where people of the community can share with one another,” Andrew said. “They're for excess homegrown produce, seeds and seedlings, preserves, eggs, etc.

“They're a great way for people to give back, to show that they care about others and this community. Being that we don't really get to see who picks up what we put down on them, there's also a spiritual element to them; a way to serve the community without need for reciprocation or acknowledgement.”

Earlier this year there were only four carts, and there are now 13 carts around the region.

“They’re really taking off and I don't think it's going to be long until there's at least one in every town in SA.

Middleton's Andrew Barker

Middleton's Andrew Barker

“By giving to one another, we're creating the community/world we'd like to live in, where money isn't an object, and people aren’t held to ransom by needing to work just to survive.

“We realise it might not come to fruition in our lifetime, but we can setup future generations for an abundant life. Society is malleable, and we all have the power to make change, no matter how small or big.”

The Grow Free community group also gives out free heirloom veggie/herb/flower seedlings, help people setup their gardens, cook for those a little less fortunate at the Salvation Army’s Cafe Crozier and hold free workshops and working bees.

Andrew’s passion for organic, locally-grown produce comes from his time working on a farm where the workers ate what they grew.

“A big light bulb moment for me was living on this farm, which we didn’t really leave for a long time, and when I went into a supermarket the food there appeared nutritionally deficient and sterile.

“There’s a big difference in how it (organic food) tastes and how it makes you feel.”

For more information visit the Grow Free Facebook page.