How a self-described ‘dodgy’ kerbside stall is doing its bit in the war on waste

Updated April 06, 2019 09:38:58

Toby Harrold’s self-described “dodgy” fruit stand is adorned with bags of colourful, misshapen fruit.

Key points:

  • Toby Harrold set up the fruit stand near his home to help a friend whose produce was being stolen
  • The stall also aims to stop fruit going to waste
  • The local council changed its policy so that Mr Harrold was able to set up his stall

A piece of cloth helps to disguise that the 1-metre by 1-metre stall has been crafted together from materials found in Mr Harrold’s backyard including an old bed, a roof rack and a bricklaying trolley.

The idea to set the stall up just metres from the front door of his Eaton home came to Mr Harrold as a bid to help a friend whose produce was routinely being stolen from a roadside stall near his Donnybrook orchard.

“I thought maybe if I sold them out the front of my place I might be able to keep a better eye on the stock,” Mr Harrold said.

While roadside fruit and vegetable stalls are not a common sight along Western Australia’s South Western Highway, which connects many of the farming towns of the region, they appear less regularly in the suburban areas closer to the coast.

Selling food that would otherwise go to waste

But the stall serves a purpose other than just helping out a mate — the bags of apples, quinces and plums that fill it would otherwise go to waste.

“This is the other thing that bugged me,” Mr Harrold said.

“Big chains don’t want this food unless it’s a specific size or colour.

“Whereas there’s a lot of variety in the size and shape of this, but it’s still just as great for eating.”

It is estimated 40 per cent of the food produced in Australia ends up as waste at a cost of $20 billion a year to the economy.

In November 2017, the Federal Government launched its National Food Waste Strategy, which is working towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030.

Locals laws changed so stall can go ahead

While Mr Harrold’s stall is only a small factor in the war on waste, it was almost shut down before it could get started.

After being urged by his partner to ensure he was doing the right thing, Mr Harrold made an application to the Shire of Dardanup.

He discovered local laws prevented him from setting the stall up.

Within weeks however, the Shire had changed that.

“I thought it would be better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, but I was wrong,” Mr Harrold said.

“I was quite surprised by it actually — I didn’t think it would happen.”

Shire president Mick Bennett said staff and council had worked quickly to ensure the policy was changed.

“I’m really glad that Toby brought that to us and particularly we looked at ways we could make it happen,” he said.

“Common sense very rarely comes into our game.”

Topics: recycling-and-waste-management, local-government, fruits, vegetable-fruit-nuts, fruit-trees, eaton-6232, donnybrook-6239, bunbury-6230

First posted April 06, 2019 07:00:00

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