How to set up a community fruit and vegetable stand in your neighborhood
Reprinted from Love Food, Hate Waste by permission
Community fruit and vegetable stands are popping up all around New Zealand, giving people a place where they can leave their excess produce for others to help themselves to.
These little roadside structures are making a real difference in the fight against food waste by creating local sharing spaces for people to pass on food they don’t need.
Created by Mark Dennis, the idea was to provide an avenue by which people could share excess produce from their gardens with their neighbours.
What’s involved in setting up a community fruit and vegetable stand?
You will need to find a suitable location, build or source a stand and find someone to manage the stand on an on-going basis.
Where is a good place to put a stand?
A stand should be easy for the public to find with parking available. Private property (with the owner’s permission) is the best place for the stand.
Stands may be placed on the berm outside the property of the stand manager, however the berm is Council land so it is best to check with them, and your neighbours, before placing a stand on the berm.
If possible, avoid placing it near shops, bars, parks and parking lots due to the risk of vandalism.
Once you have decided on a location, please notify Community Fruit and Vegetable Stand founder Mark Dennis to have the site approved. It will then be added to the map.
How do I build a stand?
Stands should be large, strong and weather-proof to stop the food from getting wet. It should be made with treated wood. Check out the community fruit and vegetable stands Facebook group for examples of what other stands look like.
If you are unable to build your own stand then you may be able to find a local handyman/woman, community group or builder to build the stand for you. Their logo can be added to the stand as a way to thank them for their support.
How will people know where my stand is?
Once your stand is built it will appear on the map. It is also a good idea to post about it in the Community Fruit and Vegetable Stand Facebook group.
We encourage you to tell all of your neighbours about the stands, either with a letterbox drop (where allowed) or by using your local Facebook groups or social networks popular in your area.
Can people donate food other than fresh fruit and vegetables?
The stands are primarily for fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as eggs, but they can also take small donations of non-perishable foods, such as preserves or canned goods. Home baking is also accepted, but other cooked food is not. [Important note: check with local health regulations especially around any cooked or preserved items, as these vary by country, state/territory/province and locality]
Any one dropping off food must ensure that it is fresh and suitable to eat at the time that it is dropped off. Donated eggs and baking should be labelled with the date they were collected or baked.
Any one collecting food from the stands must make a reasonable attempt to check that they are happy with the quality of the food before they eat it. No responsibility is held by the person managing the stand or the person dropping off the food for the safety of the food once it has been collected.
What ongoing work is there associated with the stand?
There will need to be a designated stand manager. This is a really easy job which just requires to check the stand every day or two in order to remove any old or inedible produce.
It is also helpful if you post regular social media updates to let people know what food is available at the stand.
Want to know more?
Go to Love Food, Hate Waste to download a copy of the complete guidelines.
Small Biz Survival thanks Mark Dennis for granting permission to share this post here.
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Susan Erickson says
Do you know of anyone doing this in Iowa? I love this!
Becky McCray says
Susan, most of the existing stands are in New Zealand. You can be the first in Iowa!