Santos Organics has been a long term supporter of the Federal Exchange, which is a community crop swap, held seasonally at Federal Park in Northern NSW. The Federal Exchange is a free, all ages, all weather event that promotes community connectedness, sustainability and local food resiliance. Read on to find out what their last event was like as written by the organiser Dominique Matus:

The incredible thing at this Summer’s Federal Exchange, held on 1st Feb 2020, was just how much produce there was to swap despite the extreme heat of the season and drought conditions.  The resilience of our local native bush foods and tropical fruit and veg is astonishing. 

In keeping with a hot climate, we collectively and spontaneously brought to the table all the ingredients needed for a delicious curry from scratch, just add coconut milk!  Fresh lemongrass, green chillies, turmeric root, curry leaves, some Okinawa Spinach, Kefir lime leaves, local honey to sweeten, Hawaian and Tahitian limes… To this base you could add a mango and native tamarind (foraged on site) chutney if feeling creative, and perhaps some chopped bunya nuts to top it off!  Cassava root would also go well in the pot, and is a regular cutting at our exchange, however it is a one year crop which is always worth the wait.

It was another great exchange, and our newer meeting place by the playground and tennis courts seemed to be working really well for the families who come along.  As always, it’s the people who come along that really make the exchange unique and enjoyable every time.  Each person has something to offer, be it a gardening tip, harvesting method or how to cook up some bush food, there’s value in the interactions around the table.

If you’re new to the area, or just starting a garden we encourage you to come along even if you don’t have anything yet to share.  We exchange a reflection of what we’ve brought along, however somehow there is always abundance to share with newcomers after the initial swaps.

Held seasonally at Federal Park, our crop swap is a great way to meet like minded local gardeners and families, and pick up cuttings and seeds that are well adapted to our climate.

We aim to support our community towards backyard sustainability and food security.  Some of the plants I’ve grown from our exchange we’re the hardiest throughout the drought, like the perennial Okinawa Spinach and delicious Apple Mint that I didn’t water once, believe it or not, through the dry.  More surprising were the Warrigal Greens which came out of nowhere mid Summer from a previous plant I had thought had completely died off.  It thrived in conditions most conventional garden spinaches wouldn’t last a day in!  Planting for long term harvests which require little to no maintenance is one way to ensure you can at least partially live off your land. 

The Autumn Federal Exchange is scheduled for Saturday 2nd May, meeting at 10:00 for a 10:30 Exchange at Federal Park, in Federal. If you’d like to find out more you can follow Federal Exchange on Instagram @the_federal_exchange, join their FB Group @The Federal Exchange or email thefederalexchange@gmail.com

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