Helena Martin – Ripe Near Me

Profile-Helena-RipeNearMeRipe Near Me (ripenear.me), is a project that has just been successfully crowdfunded (for $25,300 by 346 supporters) and was initially launched in July 2013 by it’s founders Alistair and Helena Martin in SA.

In Helena’s words, they started Ripe Near Me as they were “looking at fruit trees beyond fence lines laden with fruit left to the birds or rotting on the ground. Meanwhile supermarkets were charging $5-$9 per kilo for the same foods flown in from overseas. It made no sense. We found websites that mapped foods but nothing that would allow communication and collaboration between the owners of these foods and the people who were wondering how they can get their hands on the produce in a safe but convenient way. So we worked on the idea of how we could facilitate getting this fresh and often organic produce from backyards to kitchens and minimizing waste.”

The purpose of the site is to allow anyone to post their homegrown produce on a map for others to find and swap, give, share or buy – with security in mind. They want to make urban-grown foods a sizeable part of the mainstream food system. They hope to do this by providing a platform to make it possible to profit by foods grown in backyards thus encouraging more backyard produce as a result. “At the moment we eat well beyond our ecological means and eating local could form a big part of the overall solution.”

We asked Helena about her garden in Fulham and what she might be listing on their Ripe Near Me website.

Do you currently grow your own food?: Yes. We grow fruit and veg in our backyard. We have two spoilt chickens.

What would we find growing in your garden? Custard Apples, Feijoas, Pepinos, Persimmons, Figs, Apricots and the usual greens and herbs.

What’s your favourite fruit or veg to grow and why? Figs – I love them and the tree produces for a long time and they are easy to grow.

Your favourite phrase or life motto: Don’t take life too seriously – you’re not getting out of it alive.

Your biggest garden failure: A very successful campaign against our Persimmon tree by the neighbour’s rats – two years in a row!

Your biggest garden success: Our custard apples. It’s taken quite a while for the sub-tropical tree to mature, and hand pollination was a daily affair for two months.

Favourite gardening tool: The hose (its the tool for the lazy).

To find our more about Ripe Near Me, visit their website – ripenear.me

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