If you find yourself with surplus fruit or veges from the garden and can't bear the thought of produce going to waste, how about sharing it with others via a special community stall where everything is freely given?

A new initiative spreading around the country is arriving in Levin with local man Antonio Cioffi setting up a community fruit and vegetable stand outside his lifestyle block in Gordon Place.

The stand will be a place where people are welcome to take produce free, and are welcome to drop off any they have spare to share.

There is no obligation to directly swap food, Mr Cioffi says. It is there for those who need it and as long as the system is respected there should be no issues.


Mr Cioffi saw the initiative on social media, where there are photos and stories about successful up-and-running stands in other places around the country.

He said he and his family often had a lot of extra fruit from the orchard on their property, and had previously offered access to the fruit trees on Facebook, but that had resulted in a lot of people misunderstanding that they were to pick it themselves and knocking on his door at inconvenient times.

"They kept waking the baby up," he said.

He said the stand would be a much better way to offer the free food, and that while an honesty box could have been an option, he didn't need, or want to involve money.

Homegrown produce was the main feature on many stands, but other items could be seen on the current ones, such as canned food, preserves, packaged non-perishable items, seedlings, flowers, eggs and more.

Mr Cioffi said he would have no problem with any useful food items being dropped off at the stand when it was up and running.

The first stand was started by Mark Dennis, who now runs a thriving Facebook page with updates and an interactive map to show where stands are operating or under construction.

Mr Dennis said he put up the first stand in the project outside his own property about three months ago, and it had grown from there.


There were a few initial concerns about vandalism or people taking too much, but that had not happened, he said.

"Everyone thought there would be [problems] but the public have been amazing."

He said he was sure the Levin stand would also be well appreciated, and since Mr Cioffi had volunteered to build one, there had been interest in starting stands from people in other parts of the town too.

The national Community Fruit and Veg Stands group page is www.facebook.com/groups/communityfruitandvegstands