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Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Friday, 13 August 2010 10:42 UK
Swapping, not shopping, for vegetables
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Lourish.com is aimed at cutting down food waste

A glut of vegetables is often the downside of growing your own.

A surplus of cucumbers inspired Dave Bower from Cambridgeshire to set up Lourish, a vegetable swapping website.

"We had made pickle and eaten too many salads and cucumber sandwiches," he said. "And we couldn't even give them away any more."

Dave was convinced there had to be somebody nearby who would like to swap their excess crops for his cucumbers, and the idea for the website was born.

Lourish

It came at just the right time for Dave because he was already thinking of changing his job.

In August 2010 he launched Lourish, and is currently working on the website full-time until he gets it up and running.

Dave Bower with cucumber
Too many cucumbers inspired Dave Bower to set up the Lourish website

"It's early days. At this time of year there are all sorts of tomatoes and courgettes, and the fruit trees are starting to flourish," said Dave.

"It's the perfect time to be swapping and not shopping, so that you can make the most of your allotment or your back garden, and save a little bit of money and help the environment."

How it works

Growers, gardeners or smallholders need to register on the website and log the details of the surplus they are hoping to swap, and what they would like to receive in exchange.

Dave, who lives in Impington, believes it would work best if those doing the swapping live within the same village or suburb, to reduce food miles.

Foodshare

Lourish is not the only website set up in Cambridgeshire to help gardeners redistribute their surplus crops.

In summer 2009 Mark Desvaux and Dan Spencer were struggling with the same problem.

They rang East Anglia's Children's Hospice at Milton, and discovered the charity would be delighted to take unwanted crops to use in their kitchen.

A donation centre was set up at their allotment site, and by the end of the summer £1,000 worth of food had been collected.

Mark and Dan set up the website Foodshare, and schools, allotments and churches around the county, and further afield, have signed up.

'I hate waste'

Growing your own is more popular than ever. Many people are concerned about how far even British-grown food has to travel to reach the supermarket shelves.

Tomatoes
Got a glut of these? Find someone to swap them with online

Food prices are on the increase at a time when many are finding their bills are going up, while their wages remain the same.

So these websites are tapping into green and economic concerns felt across the country.

Dave Bower summed it up: "I hate waste! I can't stand that when people have spent so much time on their allotments, hand-growing all these things, they might go to waste.

"I'd much prefer it if everyone could make the most of what they grow, and cut their food miles too.

"Everyone goes away with some good, healthy food, and they don't have to go to the supermarket."

He hopes that Lourish, like Foodshare, will grow beyond Cambridgeshire and spread the 'swap not shop' philosophy.




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13 Nov 09 |  Cambridgeshire

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