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Website connecting people with food being grown around them reaches 16 countries

RipeNearMe is helping people find free food in growing public places. Picture: RipeNearMe.

RipeNearMe, founded by Australian couple Helena and Alistair Martin, now spans 16 countries across five continents.

They established the site after realising how much food is wasted from trees and gardens in cities, as well as how much growing space goes untapped.

RipeNearMe has now gone global, allowing anyone anywhere to post food that they grow themselves, or edibles growing in public places. All posted food gets mapped to encourage what the pair have dubbed ‘online foraging’. Listings can last the life of the tree or plant, allowing growers to toggle the status between ripe and growing, and foragers to subscribe to their favourite foods. Notifications let people know when their food is ready to pick. 

You can share urban locations of ripe food so it doesn't go to waste. Picture: RipeNearMe.

The couple wanted to enable anyone to participate in the food system, either for social benefit or profit, and to allow people to source more nutritious and cheaper fresh produce. Membership of RipeNearMe is free.

Alistair told “RipeNearMe, and what it stands for, seems to strike a chord with people all across the world. There's something about empowering each of us as individuals to collectively reclaim our food system - by simply being part of it in a similar way to our grandparents and the generations before them. Our community have posted some amazing produce; from avocados in Sydney, to tomatoes in LA, bananas in the Bahamas, duck eggs in Spain, and guavas in Cape Town.”

The couple have now launched a crowdfunding campaign to try to raise funds to take the project further. They hope to reach out to community gardens and food swappers, to work more with charities, to post farmer support tips, seed sharing and other improvements.  

“We hope you will join us in funding an edible urban future, and help us spread the word with friends, family, and through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks,” said Alistair.

“Happy growing, may the (garden) forks be with you.”

By Lucy

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