The women promoting community food sharing culture for gardeners and food lovers — and the occasional donkey –


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SuppliedThe new online platform - a website and soon an app - will let green thumbs and organic food fans alike connect in their local communities to swap food and tips on homegrown greens.When Hawke’s Bay mum Anneliese Hough created the Facebook group that started it all, she thought it would attract only a few of her friends and family. The group, Magic Beans, was a way to share fresh fruit and vegetables, and any gardening tips that might help people try their hand at producing them. Overnight, it grew by more than two hundred. That was in 2016. Now, the Facebook group has more than 3100 users. Hough was joined early on by fellow Hawke’s Bay resident Sarah Grant, who loved the idea of the page and put her hand up to help run it, and seeing the demand, the pair decided to take their idea to the next level: a website, and soon, a smartphone app. READ MORE: Napier woman, 75, named as person who died in Hawke's Bay crash on May 23 Increased police presence in Hawke's Bay after several incidents of gang activity Car was completing passing manoeuvre when it hit truck, killing three people - police SuppliedSarah Grant, the other half of Magic Beans, says it’s important to reduce the carbon footprint of food and create resilient, local supply chains. Their dream is a made-for-purpose platform where people can share advice, trade seeds, plants and produce, and even gardening supplies like donkey droppings and trellis. “We're at that point where we're ready to press the go button, but we just don't have the funds to do it,” Grant said. They launched a PledgeMe campaign last month to build a platform aimed at helping communities connect and support each other, to grow some of their own food, and learn skills to make their gardens flourish.SuppliedWhen Hawke's Bay solo mum Anneliese Hough created the Facebook group which started Magic Beans, she thought it would attract only a few of her friends and family – she was wrong, and it exploded overnight. It will also serve as an education and inspiration hub where people can learn about everything from soil health and building a garden to making preserves and knowing what time of the year to plant vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Trading food within a community reduced household waste, and minimised environmental harm from mass food production, packaging, and transport. “Someone who has a fruit tree in their backyard might need some herbs and they will be able to jump on the platform and connect with someone local to do a quick swap.” Both women are solo mums. Hough was used to making ends meet. “I’ve always been an avid foodie, often on a tight budget, so it was about being resourceful with what we had.”suppliedMagic Beans will be an online platform where neighbours can connect to share fresh produce, gardening tips and supplies. (File photo) “We were always renting and moving around, and having a veggie garden made a place feel like home.” For Grant, with a background in environmental management and civil defence, reducing the carbon footprint of food transportation and creating resilient, local supply chains was equally important. Throwing in Hough’s skills as a digital product designer, and Grant’s qualifications in business, they were the perfect pair for the job. “What seems criminally wrong to me is that fresh local organic food is available only to the people who can pay for it,” Grant said. Their online community could change all that. “It’s about food security, and food sovereignty - giving people the choice over what you grow and share.”
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