In the midst of another great big loop-to-loop in the rollercoaster of life and social enterprise, the things that have kept me sane and optimistic are the kindness of our community and spending time in nature. I hope you’re finding joy in your connections to people and the planet too.

Here’s an update of what has been happening at Green Connect lately and a few ways you can help keep our work going.

Farewell to Cal Champagne

“At the end of September, I will be closing an 8-year long chapter with Green Connect, to open up a new chapter for myself and my family down in the Bega Valley, the region where my wife and I grew up. A move down the coast has always been in our future, and with our son growing up so fast, the timing feels right. Just as importantly, the growth and sustainability of Green Connect farm and fair food, and particularly the growth in the people involved, has given me complete confidence that what we have created has the legs to continue to thrive into the future without me.”

So begins the farewell blog from Cal Champagne, our incredible Farm Manager, this week.

Words cannot describe how much Cal has achieved over the last 8 years. He has led the transformation of 11 acres of weeds into the productive permaculture paradise and safe, welcoming space we now call the Green Connect Farm. His time, energy, thought, effort and dedication to people and the planet are in every square inch of it.

He has made our corner of the world a better place, and in doing so he has given other communities a blueprint for how to grow fair food. Cal is an absolute legend and will be missed by many here but will go on to do amazing things in the Bega Valley, we’re sure.

Read Cal’s farewell blog at https://green-connect.com.au/opening-a-new-chapter/

These photos from 2011 and 2021 show the scale of the changes in Cal’s time:

Recruiting: Fair Food and Farm Manager

We are recruiting to fill Cal’s shoes (or gumboots as someone on social media quipped). If you know someone who:

  • Lives our values of Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share
  • Can manage people, finances and operations
  • Can lead a diverse team to grow fair food, provide employment pathways for those who need them most, and connect with the community
  • Has some experience in market gardening, horticulture or permaculture,

please tell them about this opportunity to manage one of the largest urban permaculture farms in the world.

Apply at Fair Food and Farm Manager Job

Care Packages

Six weeks ago we put a call out to our community to ask if they could donate $40 to get a care package or veg box to someone doing it tough. We thought we could help a few families in our two week lockdown. Oh how things have changed! We wouldn’t have predicted then that we would be in for a 13-week lockdown (or more), that the level of need in the community would be so great (including from people who have never had to ask for help before), or that the level of kindness and generosity in those who were in a position to chip in would grow to match it.

In six weeks, we have received over 1400 requests for care packages, veg boxes, food hampers or meal packs from folks who need a bit of a hand. More than 1100 of these have already been delivered. We need help to do more, so if you can help, please jump on and make a donation.

Equally, if you or someone you know is struggling financially, please nominate yourself or them and we’ll keep delivering as many of these as we can.

Meal delivery service

The beautiful folks at Merrigong Theatre Company reached out to us three weeks ago to offer their help. Specifically, their chef, commercial kitchen, and some volunteers. Four days after that phone call, we launched a meal delivery service. Emma from Merrigong cooks up hearty meals each week and we deliver them, frozen, on a Friday. For every meal purchased, we also deliver one to someone in need for free.

Please check out next week’s meals, order if you can, and spread the word.

Gardening and Landscaping

The current lockdown restrictions prevent us from opening our op shop, mean our zero waste service is in hibernation, and our staffing solutions arm is heavily impacted, but happily our farm continues to operate and so does our gardening and landscaping service.

We would love to have three more commercial garden maintenance customers to give our young people and former refugees work opportunities five days a week. Please contact us if you need a great team to maintain your business property or large residential site on a weekly basis.

We are also busy with garden blitzes in people’s backyards as spring approaches. If yours needs a big tidy-up or a redesign, we would love to help. You can book a backyard garden consultation and/or a garden blitz online or call Liam on 0457 042 751.

Find out more about our services on our website.

Donate your NSW Discover voucher

A couple of people have contacted us recently to ask if they could donate their NSW Discover vouchers to us. It fits perfectly with our wish to establish a fund for families or schools who can’t afford to pay for an excursion to our farm to come along for free, so we’ve made it a reality!

If this is something you want to support, please donate your voucher here.

Final Word

Green Connect was formed 10 years ago when a group of people got together to make the world cleaner, greener, fairer and kinder. We continue to do so, thanks to the incredible people who work for us, buy from us, donate to us, cheer us on from the sidelines, and lift us up when we’re down. THANK YOU for your support. We know that it takes a village and that ours is a very special one.

Have a wonderful weekend.