Online marketplace creates food & agribusiness connections
  • Monday 01 January 0001

Reducing waste and growing connections within the Sunshine Coast Food and Agribusiness industry – that’s the aim of a new virtual marketplace developed by Palmwoods entrepreneur Helen Andrew.

The Spare Harvest website (www.spareharvest.com) offers information on fresh produce, garden resources, garden services and food & garden experiences for businesses, community groups and green thumbs.  

Mrs Andrew said the inspiration to create Spare Harvest came from her own experiences growing fruit and seeing much of it go to waste.

"When my family moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2013 the house we bought had a lemon tree, two mandarin trees, a cumquat tree and a tangelo tree," she said. 

"They produced magnificent fruit but unfortunately there was so much we ended up having to throw a lot of it away at the end of the season. As a gardener, this broke my heart. I was investing time, money and effort into my garden only to have much of it go to waste. 

"So I wondered how could I reduce my waste and share my excess with other people - this was the inspiration for Spare Harvest.

“Spare Harvest was started with two goals, to reduce waste through sharing and to create opportunities for new community connections. It's an online marketplace that now connects foodies and growers so they can give away, trade or sell excess produce and garden items regardless of where you live, work, holiday or travel - imagine meeting a local while on holiday to access fresh local produce!" 

"We encourage members on Spare Harvest to reach out to each other and ask questions about their produce, services and products. If you're a business, we encourage you to provide as much information as you can about it in your listing to let other members know where you are and how they can connect with you.” 

Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said she was extremely excited to see the positive impacts Spare Harvest will provide.

"This is absolutely fantastic initiative and I'm so pleased to be here today with Helen to launch the Spare Harvest global marketplace that will hopefully grow into something very positive for the Food and Agribusiness Industry here on the Sunshine Coast," Cr McKay said. 

"Our region is home to more than 900 agricultural businesses and the agribusiness industry is becoming increasingly more entrepreneurial and focused on value-adding with linkages to manufacturing, education, retail and tourism - Spare Harvest is another great example!

“Last year council joined forces with the Queensland Strawberry Association, growers, food industry businesses and the state government to discuss ways to reduce the amount of strawberries going to waste and new ideas like

Spare Harvest certainly complement what we’re trying to achieve in this area.”

Beerburrum-based Hive Haven Managing Director Ann Ross said listing her business on Spare Harvest had opened up new opportunities.

“Registering our business on Spare Harvest has already connected our product with more people on the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

 "I was contacted by restaurant in Bullcock Street, Caloundra who purchased Hive Haven honey to use in a promotional ‘cook off’ of regional products they were hosting.

 “It is great promotion for Hive Haven and cheaper than advertising. From a personal point of view, I also listed my excess garden produce – passionfruit.

 “I have since connected with two people who were interested in my excess passionfruit and I was able to provide them with this excess produce that would otherwise have gone to waste.

 “They were really happy and it made me feel great to be able to do this!”