Warrawong’s fair food farm
The rich growing conditions in the Illawarra have not only fostered an incredible network of farmers and producers, they’ve also created opportunities for the broader community to benefit from this verdant region.
Ensuring these benefits are shared as widely as possible, Green Connect is a social enterprise that targets people often excluded from the workforce – including young people and refugees – by creating fair work employment opportunities on their 12 hectare permaculture farm, Urban Grown.
“We use the term ‘fair food’,” explains Callum Champagne, Farm Manager at Green Connect. “This means food that is good for the environment, good for the people who eat it, and good for the people who grow it. It’s this last bit that’s often furthest from peoples’ minds, and that’s where Green Connect are pushing up the biggest hill.”
Starting as a waste management service and expanding into the production of chemical-free fruits and vegetables that are sold both commercially and direct to families throughout the region, Green Connect now employ over 100 young people and refugees, and are hoping to continue expanding in the future.
“It’s taken an incredible amount of time, energy and unpaid hours to get Green Connect where it is today,” says Callum. “But one of our goals is to create enterprise models that can be replicated in other communities and regions. Do you want to eat chemical-free products that support youth and refugee employment? It’s really a no brainer.”