One of the sectors hit hardest by the impacts of a global pandemic has been the event industry – especially large music festivals and the like. This has meant that most of our Zero Waste work (where we help large event organisers design a sustainable event, manage all of the waste on the ground, and hand sort it so that as much as possible is composted and recycled) has been in hibernation.

We’re seeing a few small events spring back up again, doing waste audits for office buildings and the like, and there’s hope of a return to big events once vaccination rates are high enough, but in the meantime, we’ve been looking at ways we can create more work for the young people and former refugees that we employ, in jobs that help the community and the planet.

I’m delighted to announce that we now have a Gardening and Landscaping service, focusing on residential “blitzes” (all those big jobs that you’d love a team of people to come in and do a few times a year), commercial garden maintenance and soft landscaping for big government projects. We have been doing bits of this work over the last 12 months and now have a coordinator on board to really get it going. More about that and other things happening across Green Connect below.

In this update:

  • Farewell to Jess Moore
  • Welcome to Liam, Lindsay, Mark and Mon
  • Now hiring: young people and former refugees
  • What’s happening at the farm
    • Internships
    • Upcoming tours and workshops (including free social enterprise workshops!)
    • Use your Dine and Discover vouchers!
  • What’s happening at the op shop
    • Pick up and delivery service
    • Celebrating Volunteer Week
    • Did you know…?
  • Intro to gardening and landscaping service
  • Ways you can support us this financial year
  • Cool projects we’ve been doing

Farewell to Jess Moore

Sadly, Jess Moore is no longer working for Community Resources, the organisation that Green Connect is a part of.

Jess was the General Manager of Green Connect for five years before becoming the CEO of Community Resources three years ago, and has always been an amazing leader who inspires people to make the world a better place.

She worked hard to create an organisation that cares for people and the planet, and did so with intelligence, integrity and humility. Jess is a genuine changemaker and should be very proud of what she created at Green Connect and Community Resources. She leaves us as a strong organisation but we will miss her deeply.

Our work to create jobs, reduce waste and grow fair food will continue, and our Board have confirmed that they are committed to the vision, mission, values and strategy of our organisation. We know that Jess will go on to do amazing things within the for purpose sector and hope to work with her as she continues to blaze a trail to a better world.

Welcome to Liam, Lindsay, Mark and Mon

We have had a few new faces join the Green Connect team, and a couple of role changes:

  • Liam Champagne is our Gardening and Landscaping Coordinator (a brand new role).
  • Lindsay Burlton has moved in to the Fair Food and Activity Coordinator role (and we extend a huge THANK YOU to Isabel West who has been incredibly generous in giving us lots of notice and handover time as she leaves the Fair Food position).
  • Mark Thackray is our new Administration Coordinator (having volunteered with us for the last few months).
  • Mon Enriquez (pictured, right) is our new Staffing Solutions Coordinator, working closely with Bron Williams to book our amazing staff in to horticulture, waste management, cleaning and general labour work at short notice.

Now Hiring: young people and former refugees

We have been so busy in Staffing Solutions (and had a few of our young people and former refugees move into exciting new jobs) that we need more staff!

If you know a young person or former refugee who loves working outdoors and who wants to work in a team that cares for people and the planet (maybe they need a bit of a hand getting and keeping a job?), please let them know to get in touch with us here.

What’s happening at the farm

Internships – applications open!

We’re currently looking for our 2021 Spring Fair Food Interns. If you’re keen to help out, get your hands dirty, and learn what makes our unique farm and fair food enterprise tick, then we’d love to hear from you! 6 month commitment, 6-8 hours per week. Applications close 4 June. More information here.

 Upcoming tours and workshops

Farm tours:

Farm workshops:

  • A Taste of Permaculture with Cal Champagne, Saturday 26 June
  • Fruit Trees and Food Forests with Cal Champagne, Saturday 26 June
  • Companion Planting and Crop Rotation, Saturday 10 July
  • Small Space Gardening with Narelle Happ, Saturday 4 September
  • See all workshops here
  • Discounts are available for people who are unemployed or underemployed as part of our commitment to the permaculture value of “fair share”. Please reach out to me.
  • Don’t forget to use your NSW Discover voucher (before 30 June)! It will ask you for your voucher code on the second part of the booking page.

We’re also running some FREE social enterprise workshops thanks to funding support from Wollongong City Council:

  • Introduction to Social Enterprise, Wednesday 23 June
  • How to Start a Social Enterprise, Wednesday 28 July
  • Troubleshooting for Social Enterprises, Wednesday 25 August
  • Download the flyer here and book via our workshops pages

What’s happening at the Op Shop

Pick up and delivery service

We now offer a pick up and delivery service on Fridays, for a small fee.

We are happy to pick up clothes, shoes, toys, books, manchester, furniture and other items from your home or business. They’ll be cleaned, sorted and prepared for sale or recycled. We charge $25 to do so, so that we can pay one of our casual staff members for this service. It provides driving experience and a good opportunity to improve communication skills for our team, and covers the risk of taking big items we may not be able to sell.

Please contact [email protected] or call us on 4243 1537 to arrange a pick up. Thank you for your support!

 Celebrating Volunteer Week

We celebrated some of our many wonderful, talented and interesting volunteers at the op shop recently with profiles on one each day of volunteer week. Check out the op shop’s Facebook page for some great reads.

 Now selling fresh flowers

Every Wednesday we have fresh flowers straight from the Green Connect Farm for sale in the op shop for just $6 a bunch!!

Did you know…?

We have over 30 waste streams to keep every possible item out of landfill. The team is incredibly proud of the work that we do to keep great items in the community, and failing that, to recycle as much as we can.

Are there other things you’d like to know about our shop? We’re developing a Frequently Asked Questions page to dispel some of the myths of op shops like ours so would love to hear what you’re wondering about. Please send your questions to me or to [email protected].

Intro to gardening and landscaping service

We offer commercial and residential gardening and landscaping services including:

Do you know a business who needs their property maintained? Please put them in touch with us.

Ways you can support us this financial year

  • Pay it forward: we are partnering with two local support organisations to provide gift vouchers to women escaping domestic violence and people experiencing homelessness, and will double every donation you make.
  • Donate a chicken or sponsor a tree to help us to increase our impact at the Green Connect Farm
  • Make a donation to support the work that Green Connect does to create jobs, reduce waste and grow fair food

Cool projects we’ve been doing

There are too many to list! Here are just a few…

Building a gunya

We helped Indigenous landscape design company Jiwah to build a traditional Aboriginal hut (called a gunya) out of bamboo and bark at Barangaroo. Wollongong Botanic Gardens kindly let us harvest some bamboo from their site. Our Karenni refugee staff worked with five young Indigenous people all day and the gunya looked amazing – particularly juxtaposed against the huge towers in the Sydney CBD.

SCARF lunchbox for learning farm tour

We took former refugee families and SCARF staff on a tour of the Green Connect Farm as part of their Lunchbox for Learning program. It was incredible to hear about different ways that plants are used in various cultures and taste our way through both the farm and the snacks everyone brought along

Mirvac waste audits

We are conducting a number of waste audits at Mirvac sites including office buildings and shopping centres to look at what is going into their red bins at the moment and how they can reduce, recycle or switch out the waste for recyclable products. Mirvac has a goal of sending no waste to landfill by 2030 and are making big progress on that goal. It has been really energising to work with a company that believes in zero waste as much as we do – and are making big scale changes.

 Parramatta Light Rail planting

We’ve been working on the Parramatta Light Rail and other infrastructure projects in Western Sydney, preparing, planting and mulching new gardens and green spaces.

Big property clean-up

We were approached by a family to take some of their late mother’s belongings and ended up picking up three van-loads of items for the op shop, cleaning the house, sprucing up the garden and even painting parts of the house! It involved almost every part of Green Connect in some way, which was lovely.

eWaste preparation

We have been working with one of the local councils to prepare two gigantic skips of e-Waste for removal. Feedback from the waste manager was that the team was excellent and it was like watching a giant game of tetris as they tried to pack it in as tightly as possible for the most efficient transport to the recycling centre. There’s never a dull moment for our Staffing Solutions team!

Corporate day at the farm

Financial services company OFX had a team building day at the Green Connect farm, going on a tour and seeing our market garden, food forests and animals, as well as getting their hands dirty in some garden beds. I loved getting an email from OFX saying:

“It was an opportunity for our team to connect, to be outside and to support the community, all while learning about sustainable farming. To top it off, the team at Green Connect are amazing and welcoming.”

What feedback! ?

That’s all for now, folks. Enjoy your weekend!