Last week I went to the Social Impact Evidence Forum in Melbourne and got to catch up with lots of great social entrepreneurs, researchers and funders. I have to admit, running a social enterprise is hard. It was comforting to know that others find it hard too – and that they (like we) do it anyway because we know what a big difference we’re making.
It’s hard because we’re trying to run a business with all the commercial expertise a business requires while also doing all the social and environmental good of a charity. There are never enough resources to do everything, sales go up and down, there’s so much need in the community (seriously, the waitlist of young people and former refugees wanting to work with us keeps me awake at night – so if you have employment options for them, let us know!) and we’re battling against some big environmental issues.
In spite of all of that, Green Connect is doing really well and continues to grow. It’s particularly nice to reflect on what we have achieved over the last year:
- Kept 119 tonnes of waste out of landfill
- Grew and distributed 35,166kg of fair food
- Employed 122 former refugees and young people
- Grew our Labour Hire arm by 40%
- Doubled our Fair Food sales
- Brought our Bellambi Op Shop in to the fold (yay!)
- Worked at more than 20 Zero Waste events
Thank you to everyone who bought a veg box or something from our op shop, booked us for a zero waste event or labour hire, or made a donation – you made all of this possible.
The busy event season is just around the corner, and we’ll be managing waste at a range of music festivals and other events, working towards helping them become zero waste events. We need two more supervisors to join our team. Find out more and apply at https://green-connect.com.au/zero-waste-supervisors/
We’re also recruiting a few more young people, so if you know a 15-24 year old who isn’t working or studying and who might want to join Green Connect, let them know to take a look here and get in touch with us.
Last chance to vote
Do you think kids should have opportunities to explore nature and learn where food comes from, and how to grow it sustainably? Please vote for us so we can make our farm even better for children! Head to https://mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au and vote for “Fun on the farm in Wollongong”. You must live in the Wollongong electorate to vote. Voting closes on Thursday 15 August.
Free range meat – pre-order now
We’re excited to release our first ever free-range lamb from the farm. It seems that others are excited too because we have already sold out of our mixed lamb and pork packs. There are still some pork-only packs available though so please pre-order yours here for pick up between 28 and 31 August. If you eat meat, you’ll taste the difference in ours compared to store-bought meat, and know that the animals have been well looked after. You can even visit our farm and check for yourself on one of our tours or workshops.
If you don’t eat meat and would rather not know about it, please let me know, as I send out an edited version of these updates to our friends and supporters who are vegan or vegetarian.
There are so many!
- Roots & All Farm Tour – Saturday 17 August or Saturday 14 December
- Intro to Green Connect – Monday 9 September or Wednesday 16 October
- A Taste of Beekeeping – Saturday 14 September
- Farm to Plate (Spring) – Saturday 21 September
- In-depth Beekeeping Workshop – Saturday 28 September
- Grow Your Own Vegetables workshop – Saturday 9 November
Check them all out and book at https://green-connect.com.au/whats-on-at-green-connect/
There are some things we can’t sell through the op shop and we are testing out ways to find new homes for them so that they don’t end up in landfill. If you’re interested in upcycling, we’d love to hear from you! We are going to organise an upcycling day to see what might be done, and there’s some interest in us running upcycling workshops and courses in future so let me know how you’d like to be involved.
Changes at the Op Shop
If you haven’t been to our Op Shop in a while (or ever) come and check us out at 16 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi (open 10am-2pm Saturdays and 9.30am-4.30pm weekdays). There have been a few changes to the shop and we have a long list of future improvements – and we’re open to ideas to let us know what you think.
The most exciting change for me (as the mother of two fast-growing kids) was that our kids clothing section is now organised by size! It makes it super quick and easy to find things that will fit. Our women’s clothing section has always been by size (and colour) so has long been a favourite shopping destination.
Got a job for us?
Our labour hire services grew by a whopping 40% last year and we still have staff wanting more work. If you need a reliable, hardworking staff member for a few hours, a week, a month or long-term, please email us or call 02 4243 1537. We’d love to create more employment opportunities for the awesome bunch of young people and former refugees we work with.
Jacob is one of over 50 young people who have joined Green Connect in the last 9 months, undertaking work experience on the farm and then moving in to paid work when they’re ready and able. This is part of the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge, proudly funded by the NSW Government. He has really found his feet with us and wanted to tell the world about it. Check out his video here.
Here’s Jacob and I at the farm this week…
That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!
Green Connect General Manager