At Green Connect, we believe we can do the right thing by people and the planet, and create a more liveable future for everyone.
In 2015, the United Nations proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to measure progress towards the creation of a sustainable world. “They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.” (United Nations)
You can read more about the 17 goals at United Nations Development Program.
The goals are all interrelated so it is difficult to know where our impact ends, but here is how we’re focusing on five of the goals:
We create jobs, especially for young people and former refugees, and ensure that they are treated fairly and paid award wages.
We focus on creating employment for young people and former refugees because they are the two groups with the highest unemployment rates in the Illawarra. When Green Connect was established in 2011, about 30% of young people in our region were unemployed. For former refugees, only 25% manage to find employment within two and a half years after settling in Australia. Both of these groups face many barriers to employment, which is why Green Connect provides a supportive environment where people are allowed to “come as they are”. When each person is ready, they are offered paid work that they can use as a springboard into meaningful long-term employment. We also aim to connect the community, regardless of age, gender, race, income, sexual orientation or background around a common goal – sustainability.
We operate one of the largest urban permaculture farms in the world, which is just one way that we contribute to a more sustainable city and community. We also operate an op shop that contributes to the circular economy, and we advocate for others to do what we do – reduce waste and grow fair food.
Our Zero Waste team are leaders in responsible consumption for businesses and schools, helping them to be more sustainable by reducing landfill-bound items coming in to their organisation or event, and by recycling what goes out. Our op shop keeps good items in the economy through reuse and we repurpose and recycle as much of what is left as possible. At our farm, we don’t use any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or other chemicals and our veg boxes have always been plastic-free. We sell all of our produce locally in the Illawarra to reduce food miles.
We have been restoring the land on which our farm operates since 2013. We have undertaken bush regeneration of the native creeklines that run through the farm, which are one of the last remnants of an Illawarra rainforest called Berkeley Brush. Through permaculture and organic farming methods we are also restoring the soil and welcoming birds, reptiles and insects back to the area. Our Zero Waste work at events ensures that all litter, no matter how small, is picked up and disposed of thoughtfully, being hand-sorted so as much as possible is composted and recycled.
Learn more about each of our business arms here:
Get involved with what we do here: