When Helensville local Mark Dennis set up a community food-sharing stand outside his home in 2018, he had no idea the idea would soon be copied throughout the US and Europe.
Now there are over 200 food-sharing stands in communities across Aotearoa, and stands are springing up across the globe in America and as far afield as the Channel Islands in Europe.
Mr Dennis says he started his own food-sharing stand because he wanted to find a use for the abundance of vegetables going to waste in his Auckland garden.
"I think our concept has been so popular because it isn't targeted at any particular group, it’s all-inclusive. Anyone can help themselves to what is in the stands.”
“Turns out the idea was just too big for New Zealand!” he said.
Recently food-sharing stands have popped up in communities in the American states of Ohio and Maine and in Jersey Island, one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel near the coast of France. Four more are under construction in other parts of America.
Closer to home, a food-sharing stand is set up outside the Ōrākei Local Board office in Meadowbank.
Earlier this year, students from Remuera Intermediate had approached local board member Troy Churton with the idea. Following support from the local board, the students set up the stand themselves on a rainy Saturday morning in April.
Mr Churton says he and the local board supported the students’ idea because it was all about creating community and reducing waste at a local level.
“We really encourage residents in our local board area to make good use of the stand.
“It’s a place where people are welcome to take food items, and to drop off any items they have spare to share.
“It’s a fantastic concept because it works to benefit everyone in the community. Our local board is proud to support a kiwi concept that’s going global,” he said.
Visit Mark Dennis’ Community Fruit & Veg Stands Facebook group to connect with the food-sharing community and for an interactive map showing where stands are operating or are under construction in Aotearoa and across the globe.