UPDATE: Since this story was posted, Ripe Near Me has met its crowdfunding objective of more than AUD$25,000 to translate the app. The app has also had more than 800 new users join the food sharing group.
A FREE app and website created in South Australia to combat food waste from home gardens is now filling the same need for consumers in locations as diverse as the United States, Norway, Germany and South East Asia.
RipeNearMe allows anyone, anywhere to post notifications of edibles they grow themselves or have spotted in public places such as parks or along the roadside.
Crops are listed as either growing or ripe and consumers can subscribe to be notified when their favourite foods are ready to pick nearby. Food can be free, bartered or sold.
The idea came from Adelaide husband-and-wife team Alistair and Helena Martin.
Reducing waste and sourcing food grown the right way inspired Alistair and Helena Martin to create RipeNear.Me.
Launched in 2013, it has grown through word-of-mouth and social media and now has 4,000 members worldwide and 3,300 produce listings for everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to native herbs.
“Designing the app as a global community from the beginning and harnessing social media to spread the news gives everyone a sense of ownership,” Alistair Martin said.
RipeNear.me is proving popular across the United States.
Home gardener Beth Rodio of Massachusetts found RipeNearMe through an environmental news site.
She likes the app because as well as helping her source and share produce, it is putting her in touch with locals who share her interests.
“The way Alistair and Helena have reached out and encouraged their users is an excellent example of the kind of community that gardeners have, and can enjoy further by using the site,” Rodio said.
RipeNearMe was named as a semi-finalist in the international AppMyCity! Awards this year.
The Martins are now seeking support through crowdfunding to upgrade the app with multilingual content, add user groups and support seed and plant sharing.
“We believe RipeNearMe has immense potential. Globally, people are looking for real food grown well and are much more aware of good food going to waste,” Alistair Martin said.
Alistair Martin, founder of Ripe Near.me.