Sharing memories and produce

April has been a hectic month with two cyclones putting a dampener on the Easter holiday weekend and our thoughts have been with those affected by the flooding.

The ladies of Raglan have been busy knitting and crocheting poppies for Anzac Day and sharing stories of two World Wars as told by friends and family.

Most were too young to remember the World War II, but the 1942 campaign “Dig for Victory” that urged people to use any spare land to grow vegetables continued into the post-war years and many recalled food rationing.

Raglan children have also entered into the spirit of remembering those who served their country by creating wreaths and crosses to place on the cenotaph.

Whaingaroa Environmental Centre hosted Raglan’s first Crop Swap event and judging by the eagerness of the people who attended the meeting it will not be the last.

Crop Swaps were developed to enable like-minded people to connect and share surplus produce from their gardens and kitchens.

Exchanging produce is not a new idea and similar organisations are found all over the world.

Franziska vo Hunebein has been developing the Crop Swap Movement in the Taranaki area over the last three years and, armed with a short film and lots of enthusiasm, explained how to get started here in Raglan.

Crop Swap gatherings are completely moneyless, and entry to last Sunday’s session was something homegrown or homemade.

It was not long before the table “runnethed over” with produce and three large baskets of delicious organic apples had to be designated to the floor. We certainly don’t have to wait for a disaster to find surplus food.

After Franziska’s talk the group discussed the possibility of setting up a Crop Swap in Raglan.

Then the fun started as everyone gathered around the table and spoke about the products they had brought along and shared different gardening tips and ideas.

People were a little shy at first to take something from the bounty and for me the greatest joy was to see my humble offering of a colourful pot of busy Lizzy (impatients), a hastily-potted up punnet of self-planted kale seedlings and a rather sad bunch of parsley disappear into someone’s bag.

I shall be better prepared next time! Meanwhile, I was delighted to take home a bag of apples and lemons to share with family and friends.

Pauline Abrahams