Introducing HomeGrownMarket – Where You Can Buy Sell and Trade Local Stuff
1. What is Home grown market?
HomeGrown Market is a website that helps communities buy, swap and sell locally produced stuff.
www.HomeGrownMarket.co.nz – the “Community TradeMe” – A Free Place for Kiwis to Trade Their Locally Produced ‘Stuff’
2. What inspired you to start it?
The idea for this type of initiative bubbled around for about five years. It started when we rented a house with a very large orchard, and I would agonize about the fruit rotting on the ground. It astounded me that nobody would take any fruit, and not only did it rot, but it attracted wasps which stung. I saw similar instances where families could not cope with the amount of fruit (and the height of summer – veggies) being produced, which would just be “given to the pigs” or left to rot. Eventually, these thoughts bubbled into “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for people to swap, trade or even give away surplus homegrown produce to other locals in their community”.
The seed for the website was planted. But it was only when petrol prices increased and grocery shopping became more expensive two years ago, that I spoke to my husband about the idea. He is in the internet field, thought it was a great idea, and promptly built the HomeGrownMarket website.
3. How do you run it?
The website has been set up in the spirit of community projects and as such is 100% free for users and advertisers alike.
Admittedly, the website is a lot more than just a place to sell or swap veggies. Locals in a region are able to use the website to advertise any of their locally made or produced products, such as arts and crafts, handmade goods, plants and seedlings and more. Basically all the great things you normally see at a local craft or farmers market.
Once enough people in an area are using the website, it could be a fantastic mechanism to help build up the local community. The site has achieved much of this, as it has put people in contact with each other.
4. How’s it been starting this site up?
The site has been running for just over two years (it started 1st April 2008), and to be truthful, it grew quite slowly. I haven’t advertised it much as I had a one-year old when I started it, so most of my energies were elsewhere plus I work, so it gets “squeezed in”.
Most of the growth (in terms of listings) came from supportive people in the Eastern Bay and from there it spread to the rest of the Bay of Plenty area, and elsewhere.
Also, there are difficulties associated with listings e.g. winter is very quiet for surplus produce but busy for seeds
5. How many people are contributing to your community?
In the case of HomeGrown Market, there are nearly 1,000 registered users using the site to list items.
6. How can people become a part of this community?
People can become part of the HomeGrown Market community by registering. Once they have registered, they will be able to upload their items. We encourage anyone and everyone to use the site, either to view what’s on offer within their community, or to list items they have to offer. People wanting to view the site – or add their items for free can do so at http://www.homegrownmarket.co.nz
7. What’s your ultimate goal for this site?
My ultimate goals for this site are:
* to get people within the local community trading, swapping and
selling locally produced items
* that community groups use it to advertise their meetings and
events e.g. plantings or harvestings at community gardens, thereby
reinforcing the community-building component of the site
* that, longer term, there is a pool of experienced people to ask
questions and obtain advice (e.g. advice on organic pesticides,
recipes for bottling, etc.)
8.What are some examples of listings on HomeGrownMarket?
Examples of listings include someone looking for surplus fruit to make jam, free peking ducklings, someone selling daffodil bulbs, another listing for sale Wood Ear, Tree Fungi for use in Chinese and Thai cooking, Chi Massage and Reiki, someone looking to swap woven torsos for fruit trees/seedlings and someone looking for pea straw. There are nearly 300 more listings, these are just a snapshot.
9. Can you share some interesting statistics about the site?
* We’ve had close to 1,000 emails generated off the site (in terms of
requests sent to and from people)
* In the last three months, there have been about 100 click-outs to
other peoples’ websites, helping to promote their sites
* We are unable to note the number of telephone calls generated from
the listings, but estimate there are many
* On average, there are over 30 visits per day, and of those 30
visits, 10 are returning or repeat visits.
* We have almost 1,000 registered users
* In total, we’ve had on average 1 listing a day over the last 2 years