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One little boy’s big idea to help local farmers

Adams Apple sells locally grown produce to the Ipswich community with the profits going back to the farmer.

Adams Apple Fresh Fruit is the brainchild of then 12-year-old, Adam Gafer.

Now 14, Adam, with the help of dad Mark, and family, sells fruit and vegetables at near cost price to Ipswich residents over Facebook.

Mr Gafer said he just wants to help people by keeping it simple and honest.

The seed is planted

It was the moment young Adam learned that when you buy produce from a supermarket, not all of that money goes back to the farmer.

It was a lesson that struck a chord with Adam that he turned into a symphony.

“Adam and I were visiting a friend who runs a small farm in the Lockyer Valley,” Mr Gafer said.

“He must have been listening into our conversation about how little farmers are paid for their products.

“It lead to a deep discussion on the way home, about why is that happening.”

Adam thought everyone should help each other.

“It was just instinct,” Mr Gafer said.

“He asked me ‘why don’t the supermarkets sell them at cost price because the people would buy more and the farmers would sell more?’.

“I am an accountant, so I explained it all to him.

“I asked him, what he thought we should do then.”

The next weekend Mr Gafer and Adam set off for the Lockyer Valley again and this time they filled up the boot with boxes of fruit from his friend’s farm and a couple of other farms nearby.

The children make chalk boards, cleaned out the garage and borrowed the kitchen scales.

“We are on a fairly busy road so the kids set up a table at the front of the garage and we sat back with a coffee keeping an eye on them and feeling really proud of them for wanting to sell this produce for the farmers,” Mr Gafer said.

“The kids made $30 that day to give back to the farmers and everyone who stopped was really impressed with the whole concept.

“It created a buzz.”

The idea grows

For almost two years the Gafers have been selling fruit boxes from their garage.

“It just spread by word of mouth,” Mr Gafer said.

“We couldn’t keep up with orders. We have 1,000 members in our group of Facebook.

“We would put a photo up each week with what is in the box and sometimes they would be sold out within 20 minutes of putting the post up.”

Mr Gafer puts their success down to the quality and freshness of the produce along with the low cost.

“We add a very slim margin to cover fuel costs, boxes and pocket money for Adam,” he said.

 

And grows again

With sales going well Mr Gafer started to wonder if the people who could afford it, might like to help those who couldn’t.

“We thought maybe we could help more people who could not afford a whole box for $30,” he said.

“So we decided to ask people if they would like to put some coins towards a box for someone who could not afford a box and also if they knew someone to nominate them for a box.

“The first week we started this we knew we were onto something. We had six people buying full boxes for people they didn’t know.

“A lady who received a gifted box sent us a letter to thank us for helping her out.”

Paying it forward

The Gafer family know firsthand what it is like to need a helping hand.

“We went through the flood in 2011 and we lost everything,” Mr Gafer said.

“We found ourselves at the door of certain charities in the area so we have experienced that firsthand.

“We slept in the street the first night and at the evacuation centre the next, until someone came and offered me their spare room.

“That was the spirit. Everyone helped each other.”

While Mr Gafer found incredible generosity in the community, he did not feel the same when dealing with the charities.

“It was the most degrading experience of my life,” he said.

“If you are going to help someone, do it with dignity.”

 

Coming full circle

The Gafers are back to selling boxes on Facebook.

“After we decided to move into a shop, that is when things went belly up,” Mr Gafer said.

“The recent rain caused damage to the shop, shelving and fittings and it was not covered by insurance.

“We need a shop front to continue to operate, it is vital for us now.”

Mr Gafer is in the process of becoming an official charity.

“When people donate money toward a box for someone who cannot afford one, it can be a tax deduction,” he said.

“We want to continue to help people, if I can help just one more person, I will keep at it.”

You can keep up to date with Adams Apple’s journey on their Facebook page Adams Apple Fresh Fruit or you can order a box of fruit and vegetables on 0444 555 079.

Read also:

>>> Ipswich’s plan for reducing waste to landfill

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