Opening a New Chapter

This week is a bit of a personal one…

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.

I can still remember in the summer of 2013 when we started at the farm, I rode the exact same bicycle route everyday. From my share house in Keiraville, I rode through Coniston, down Masters road, bumped the curb to race across Springhill road, slugged it up Cringila hill, came through the gates of Warrawong High School and past their legendary living classroom garden – arriving at this 11 acre valley full of endless possibilities. We now call this patch of land Green Connect Farm.

There was one point on the route where I could look out towards Port Kembla and see the Copper Smelter, that loomed over the region as an allegory of a model of development that has no consideration for the welfare of the community and the health of the environment.

When writing Green Connect’s vision and mission statement, we set it in stone that we would create jobs and employment pathways that would contribute positively and meaningfully to people and to planet. For the last 8 years, striving towards this vision, I mostly measured our success or failure through the lens of numbers: how many units of veggies produced, how many boxes sold, how many young people and former refugees engaged, how many employed, how many tonnes kept out of landfill etc. But our real success at creating a sustainable enterprise was highlighted to me last week when speaking to our farm team about what they valued about Green Connect, and what they wanted to ensure remains in the farm’s future.

We’ve built a culture in our team and in our community that truly respects people, respects the work that they do, and respects their contribution to the big picture vision that we are all working towards. It’s one thing to give someone a job or to give someone work experience. Its another thing entirely to give them the dignity that comes with the acknowledgement of and respect for the work they are doing and the impact that it is having on the world.

Green Connect fair food has always been about using food as a vehicle for building connection between the people who grow the food, the people who eat it, and the environment that allows this to take place in the first place. My team and I carry out our work with such pride and honour, all because we know how valued it is by the people we grow for and the community who supports us.

I have half a hope over the coming weeks to take the opportunity to properly acknowledge and honour some of the people who have made this all happen, but my fear is that there are just too many of you for this to be possible. I don’t forget people, I don’t forget how I’ve met them, and I don’t forget their contribution to the world. Sometimes I can find myself in a particular corner of the farm and I get a jolt of memories of people who I’ve worked with, the work that was done, and the conversations that were had in that exact space years ago.

I’m not really an ‘everything happens for a reason’ type of guy, but looking back over the past 8 years, knowing all the ways we could have easily fallen off the tightrope, It’s really difficult to believe that the universe wasn’t conspiring to make Green Connect the success that it is. And its impossible to believe that we would have got to where we are now without the exact contribution made by yourself, and thousands of others, at the precise time that those contributions were made.

I’m going to be around for the next month working hard to recruit for a new Farm and Fair Food Manager and to make the transition as smooth as possible. I hope to stay connected with Green Connect, and have offered my assistance in whatever way is helpful into the future. But I know that the team that are in place have got this, and I have complete confidence that they will take the farm and Green Connect more broadly to incredible new places.

For now, I truly want to thank you who are reading this, and all the people who have made this happen for being a part of this journey. It really has been my privilege. We’ve built something truly amazing together and should all be incredibly proud of ourselves and each other.

Thanks for everything,


Cal Champagne
Green Connect Farm Manager


In your box:

Grid of veg and fruit in 20210825 veg boxes

Note: We sometimes need to make changes to what we pack in your veg box based on the quantity or quality of produce that we can harvest and source. If you have any questions about what is in your veg box, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Did you know?

Broccoleaf, or the leaves that grow on and around broccoli florets and heads, are starting to be marketed and sold as a “new” vegetable. Of course, brassica leaves have been around for centuries. But it’s great to see something once widely binned or composted being celebrated as a delicious food in its own right! Broccoleaf can be used in the same way as kale, though it’s a little sweeter in flavour. Enjoy it with light dressing in a salad, seared on the grill, baked into a frittata, dehydrated into chips, or blended into a smoothie.


You can find all of our recipes here!