You may never have come across one in the UK, but in New Zealand honesty boxes are a part of life in the summer. Great for hungry travellers, cyclists, hikers or people from the local community, honesty boxes are set up by local producers and farmers with fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and other homegrown items, with a sign saying how much the item costs and a box to leave the money in. People pop by and pick up food and leave the money in the box. If they need change, they take it from the box.
If you’ve been travelling and living off dried foods, an honesty box is a cheap and fun way to discover local produce of the area you’re travelling through. Usually surplus produce from farmers or from local gardens, produce is usually cheap, plentiful and very popular. And since it’s homegrown, the produce is organic, usually unsprayed and ready to eat.
Honesty boxes aren’t limited just to New Zealand, honesty boxes are also found in California, Pennsylvania and also here in parts of the UK. However there have been many unfortunate stories of theft from honesty boxes, either produce, money or both. Honesty boxes have been moved to beneath windows so they can be kept an eye on, manned, have had CCTV installed or even sadly been removed.
Honesty boxes are a great way to support the local community as well as helping to maintain this tradition. On your travels, if you see a box, don’t hesitate to buy and try some local produce.