Indeya Passfield isn't afraid to think big. She's hoping to change the world from her backyard in Woodville.
"I wanted to do something that reduced food wastage, created a community feeling and aided in food security and education," she told Food & Wine.
Researching community garden projects, she discovered many like-minded individuals had tried and failed before her due to bureaucratic red tape.
"Then I realised we all have our own community gardens - our backyards, our kitchens, our farmers - and if I could find a way to share their stories, create awareness and showcase their products and offerings, people may be inspired to purchase and support local before they go to the big commercial chains," Passfield said.
The fourth-generation Novocastrian has just launched CommuniFood, aimed at connecting people with their local farmers, backyard growers and kitchen enthusiasts. Each week a new "CommuniFoodie" shares their story on the CommuniFood website with details about how others can access their harvests or homemade products.
"In my community there is a lot of generational farming. Families that have been in the area for over 100 years and some newcomers. I listen to their conversations about 'the good old days' and find myself jealous of the community spirit and relationship that used to exist," Passfield said.
"I don't know if it is just me, but I get such satisfaction from cooking with items that I have sourced locally or even grown myself. It's not just a beetroot you bought at the store, it's a beetroot that I bought from Jesse at Phoenix Park Farm or the honey from John Wright that was planted, farmed, tended to and harvested from soil and land that I drive past nearly every day.
"My money goes straight in the pocket of these guys, my community, and it's such a good feeling."
A handful of CommuniFoodies have already shared their stories - and their harvests - on her website. Jesse Clarke, of Phoenix Park Farm near Maitland (fruit and vegetables); The Greek Grazing Table in Maitland (homemade Mediterranean dishes); Morpeth farmer John Wright (honey and seasonal vegetables); and Dungog's Four Acre Farm (garlic, seasonal flowers and leafy greens).
"I hope to inspire people to shop in their community to complement the big store grocery shop. To bring back the days where you could swap a bag of lemons for your neighbour's muffins," Passfield said.
"The amount of people changing the perception of food in the Hunter area is incredible. When you learn of what is available in your area, you really do look at your fridge and pantry in a different way."
For more information go to communifood.com.au.