Fresh food is the hub of a good idea

Kylie Sandilands may not have envisaged bonding with her new neighbours over fruit and vegetables, but as a hubster she will get to know them well.

About three weeks ago the Cherrybrook resident started a Harvest Hub — a fruit and vegetable co-operative for neighbourhood, church and community groups.

She packs produce sourced by the social enterprise from growers in the Sydney Basin ready for members to pick up at a pre-arranged time each week.

"From a mother's perspective, the convenience is really good," Mrs Sandilands said.

"When you've got two kids strapped into the car, the last thing you sometimes feel like doing is getting them out just to go to get fruit and veggies, then you've got to go to the butcher and to do the groceries — [it is a] nightmare.

"To be able to park in someone's driveway and be able to run out and get your fresh fruit and veggies for the week is great. It really feels like you're getting value.

"It inspires you to cook with different things as well.

"The value bag I get is what's in season, so I don't always know what's in it."

Members pay $25 to join and for their weekly order receive a cooler bag made by workers with a disability at Pak-It-Rite in Castle Hill.

Harvest Hub director Jayne Travers-Drapes said hubsters get $4 for every bag they pack each week and 20 per cent off the price of their own grocery bag.

"People can save $3000 to $4000 a year on their groceries," she said."It helps pay the mortgage and for some pays the holidays or the school fees."

Ms Travers-Drapes said the members of six hubs recently donated a dollar each, matched by Harvest Hub, to provide free fruit and vegetables to a family for six months after the mother died of breast cancer.

‘‘The hubster is so important because they know what is happening in their community,’’ she said.

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