Empire Bay resident starts food exchange network
An Empire Bay resident has set up a food exchange network in an attempt to minimise food wastage.
Mr Gregory Olsen has established the Empire Bay-Bensville Home Grown Produce Swap to connect the area's home gardeners and like-minded people.
"I started the group to uncover home gardeners like myself who, over the years, have had to chuck out any surplus food," Mr Olsen said.
"The exchange gives them the chance to swap with a neighbour something they may have in excess for something they need," he added.
Mr Olsen said the beauty of the exchange lay in its simplicity and its ability to connect neighbours.
"It can be as simple as a piece of fruit or a dozen eggs," he said.
Mr Olsen posted the idea on the internet.
"I'm really excited by the response of the community.
"They have embraced the idea enthusiastically and, in just eight days, it has attracted 73 members who are already swapping their produce.
"What's even more exciting is that they are posting photos of the results of their hard work as well as their great culinary creations," Mr Olsen said.
He said the network was attracting interest from people from Umina and Kincumber.
Mr Olsen said the exchange was an initiative spurred on by his passion for sustainable living.
Together with wife Leeanne, he made their first Sydney home sustainable and hosted many sustainability workshops including worm farming and composting.
The Olsen's brought this passion for green living with them to the Empire Bay when they made the move up to the Coast after establishing Sustainability St, Phillip Bay.
"Growing your own food is great fun, therapeutic and relaxing," Mr Olsen said.
"It comes with a great sense of pride and accomplishment and home grown food truly cannot be bettered in taste or quality.
"It's good for your health, good for the environment and great for the whole family because kids of all ages can get involved," Mr Olsen said.
Mr Olsen does not use any chemicals in his garden, preferring to hand weed instead.
He uses "worm tea" and compost to give his plants a boost.
"I'm excited about the benefits a chemical-free garden can bring to my health," he said.
Interview, 1 Feb 2017
Gregory Olsen, Empire Bay
Reporter: Dilon Luke