Aria and sister Audrey offer free food opposite preschool
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Aria and sister Audrey offer free food opposite preschool

Aria and sister Audrey offer free food opposite preschool

by Freya Lucas

September 09, 2021

Two young girls living in Valla Beach, a coastal town in Northern New South Wales, have decided to give back to their local community and support those who are struggling with accessing healthy food by creating a Food Swap + Share stand opposite the preschool on Valla Beach Road.


Aria, who is nearly six years of age, is assisted to run the stand by her younger sister Audrey, and her parents Anna and Danny Saunders. The stand is part of the grassroots Grow Free movement, which promotes the growing and sharing of food and plants.


The intention of the stand is to offer a space for people to give and take items such as fresh produce, plants and homemade preserves, although Aria told News of the Area she has also enjoyed giving and receiving some more unexpected items, such as toys, flowers and shells.


The family was inspired to create the stand one week into the statewide lockdown, because of an awareness that “some people don’t have much (sic.) food and toys.”


“My dad [made it] and I helped him a little bit, putting the shelves on,” Aria said. The first items to go into the stand were lemons and limes from fruit trees in the family’s garden, along with some grapefruits and passion fruits.


Checking the stand to see what people are giving and taking has become a highlight for Aria, who says she checks in “about ten times a day”.


Some of the produce doesn’t stay for long, with Audrey eating all of the snow peas which were recently added, however locals have recently added mint, flowers, and even a letter for Aria from her friend Zachary, who she hasn’t been able to see because of lockdown. 


The Grow Free movement started in South Australia and has since spread across Australia and to New Zealand and the United States of America. To find other stands or to add a stand to the list, visit

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button