Happy lunar new year! And happy new year in general. At Green Connect we have celebrated an award and a donation or two, thrown together a video tour of our farm, office and op shop, changed our kids farm tours, been devastated by a break-in at the shop, been cheered up by the community’s response to it, and started work on a big landscaping project in Sydney. And we’re only six weeks in to 2021!
Here’s the latest news and lots of opportunities to get involved – like naming our alpaca, volunteering at the farm or op shop, or coming to Community Day next month.
Let’s start with the bad news… A few weeks ago we arrived to find the op shop and office broken into, parts of it ransacked, and our safe and a computer stolen. The main areas of the shop were fine and no one was hurt, but we were devastated, and some of our staff and volunteers were quite shaken as it brought back bad memories for some.
The team rallied, though, and by 10am shoppers couldn’t tell anything was amiss. We put word out via social media and had kind messages pour in, along with a couple of donations, lots of chocolates, a cake, and plenty of friendly faces in the shop telling the team how great they are. Thank you to everyone who went out of your way to make sure we were OK. We really appreciate it.
The CCTV footage helped the police to find a suspect, and we have upgraded our security so that it doesn’t happen again.
Late last year, we were honoured to receive the Illawarra Multicultural Award for Diversity and Inclusion (thank you Multicultural Communities Council of the Illawarra!)
Early this year we were also finalists in Wollongong City Council’s award for Diversity and Inclusion.
Vote for Jess!
In excellent news, Jess Moore has been shortlisted for Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25 awards. Jess is a rare find – inspirational leader, hands-on doer and wonderful human being. She led our award-winning social enterprise for five years and now manages the not-for-profit organisation Community Resources, which runs Green Connect and some of the largest social enterprises in Australia, employing 600 people last year.
Jess has a very strong moral compass, incredible work ethic, amazing business mind, and yet remains both humble and fun(ny). She makes the world a better place in big ways and small.
To see Jess recognised for her work in creating positive social change, please take a moment to vote for her (and up to two others from the list of amazing folks) before this Wednesday 17 Feb at https://www.pbaimpact.com.
Thank you Bohmers
Work has begun on a welcome garden at our new farm entrance thanks to a donation from Bohmers Tree Care. Bohmers have been so lovely to work with over the past few years, donating mulch to the farm, employing one of our young people through Staffing Solutions, and coming along to a previous tree planting day. We look forward to unveiling the new garden at our upcoming Community Day.
Save the date
We usually hold a Community Day at the end of each year, but no one was quite feeling up to it last year. Now that the world feels a little brighter though, we are going to hold a Community Day the morning of Saturday 6 March. Please save the date in your diaries! We’ll be opening up the farm to the public and putting on lots of kids activities – and unveiling three new things:
- Our new farm and education hub (proudly funded by The Ian Potter Foundation and Westpac Foundation)
- Our new children’s garden (proudly funded by the NSW Government through the My Community Project fund)
- Our new entrance garden (proudly funded by Bohmers Tree Care, above)
Look out for an invitation with more details soon!
Name the alpaca
Our beautiful new addition to the farm last year has been quite the hit with visitors and we decided it was high time she was given a name! Jump on our Facebook page or Instagram to throw your suggestions in the ring, or vote on other people’s. We’ll pick a name in time for Community Day.
Tours and workshops
We have recently redesigned our family tours at the farm so they’re much more focused on kids. Join us for a farm tour of your choice:
- Family Farm Tour OR Adult Farm Tour Sat 20 February
- Family Farm Tour OR Adult Farm Tour, Sat 13 March
- Private Farm Tour, whenever you like! Popular with schools, scouts groups, gardening clubs and more.
We’re also running a few more workshops over the next couple of months and would love to see you at one of them! Here’s the schedule (or see the workshop flyer here).
- A Taste of Permaculture with Cal Champagne, Sat 6 March
- Wild Edible Foraging with Diego Bonetto, Sat 20 March
- Intro to Beekeeping with Claire Brown, Sat 27 March
- Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs with Cal Champagne, Sat 10 April
- In depth Beekeeping with Claire Brown, Sat 17 April
Virtual tour of Green Connect
If you have always wanted to see Green Connect and haven’t made it to the farm and op shop, here’s a quick virtual tour we threw together for the Westpac Foundation recently. It isn’t highly polished, but you get to see what we do and how it all fits together.
Friday DIG DAY starting again at the Farm
After having to cancel dig days at the farm for most of 2020 due to COVID-19 we are thrilled to be welcoming our wonderful Dig Day volunteers back on the last Friday of each month commencing on Friday 26th February, 9am-2.30pm. There will be a range of task opportunities each Dig Day and we’d love to see you there.
Please register your interest with Julie Wright at [email protected]
You will be sent out directions and instructions of what to bring on the day, like a water bottle and some lunch.
Saturday volunteering at the Farm
We are looking forward to welcoming volunteers to the farm on Saturdays.
This will be commencing in March. We are just looking for some volunteers to coordinate the day before we can start.
Please contact Annie at [email protected] if you are interested either in coordinating or just coming along
Painting at the farm
Our shipping containers at the farm are getting a face lift!
We are looking for a group of people to come along on Thursday 18/02 to undercoat the shipping containers so some of our wonderful young artists can paint them.
If you are interested please let Annie know ([email protected]) by Wednesday afternoon.
Op Shop Volunteers
Are op shops your happy place?
Our wonderful op shop in Unanderra is looking for some new volunteers especially Wednesday to Saturday.
Do you love volunteering at the Green Connect farm?
Would you be interested in supervising a group of volunteers once a week either on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday as a volunteer ‘volunteer coordinator’?
You will receive lots of support from Annie and Cal.
If you are interested could you please give Annie a call on 0436 864 404
We have been quite busy in Staffing Solutions (our labour hire arm), including gardening and landscaping projects around the Illawarra and in Western Sydney. We love hearing positive feedback from customers – from residents and sole traders to very big businesses – about how hardworking our teams are, and how much they enjoy working alongside staff from different backgrounds. We’re hoping to keep increasing the work we do in these areas as it’s work our staff are well-trained for and enjoy after spending time at the farm.
Lastly, our broader organisation, Community Resources, released its beautiful annual report for 2019-20. Have a read here. Green Connect is featured on pages 22-27 (13-15 in the pdf).