Sharing skills

We sometimes find at Green Connect that it’s difficult to communicate what we do, because we do so much. People find it easy to get their head around an organisation that grows fair food, an organisation that reduces waste, an organisation that supports former refugees, or an organisation that mentors young people. But as an organisation that has all these benefits and so much more, Green Connect can sometimes be a mouthful to explain and a headache to understand.

But every now and then a situation arises that embodies everything Green Connect is about. This bamboo fence that will circle our new kids garden does just this.

When designing our kids’ garden, we had the children’s safety front-of-mind. We were coming to terms with the fact that this zone needed to be fenced so that young children don’t wander off unsupervised down a hill or into the creek! But we didn’t want a scary looking steal fence which would ruin the fun atmosphere. We tried to think of a way to build it out of recycled materials but couldn’t find an option that both looked good and was structurally sound. Then Shay, one of our senior farmhands suggested we build a bamboo fence, as bamboo building was a skill that he and many of our other Kareni staff had. I asked Shay to build a small section to show the team what it would look like and was blown away by the craftsmanship that the team possessed.

So, we put the call out for bamboo to build this fence and received a response from a community member who had a giant clump that she needed to get rid of as it was intruding on a neighbours fence. Nathan, one of the young people who has worked with us for several years, has a passion for anything mechanical – so last year we put him through chainsaw training. He was stoked to go up with Ar Jo Lo, who knows exactly which bamboo stalks are best to build with, and harvest more than enough for our fence (Nathan also taught Ar Jo Lo a few things about chain sawing). The property owner was so impressed by their work that she employed them to work another few days to take the rest of the clump out!

It’s a sad fact that the enthusiasm that young people bring to a community, and the knowledge, skills and work ethics that former refugees bring to this country can often be unacknowledged and underappreciated. This is why it’s been such a joy to watch our Kareni staff proudly sharing their incredible skills, and such a pleasure to be able to employ Nathen to do what he loves doing and is incredibly good at!

This fence will be a real feature of our kids’ garden, a garden that will serve as a gateway for future generations to learn what a diverse community can achieve when people work together and respect one another.

Thank you
Cal Champagne
Green Connect Farm Manager

What’s that in my box: Fennel hails from the same family as carrot & celery but it has a surprising licoricey flavour. You may have received a fennel bulb last week but this week we are harvesting the leaves! Add these to any sautés, roasts, or soups (particularly potato soup) to add that classic fennel flavour to any dish. Fennel has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, so it will be a healthy bonus to help with any bumps or bruises.
For more information on how to store & cook any of our vegetables, visit: and type in the veggie you’re looking for.

Fragrant Fennel Fronds Pesto
1 cup toasted walnutsfennel
3 cups loosely packed fennel fronds
1 lemon juiced
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil (plus extra)
Toast the walnuts over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until they start to turn a nice golden-brown colour. Set aside to cool. Add the walnuts, fennel fronds, lemon juice, garlic and salt to a food processor. Add in half of the olive oil and pulse or blend until incorporated. Continue blending while slowly pouring in the rest of the olive oil and desired consistency is reached (you may need to add in a little more olive oil or water 1 tsp at a time if you prefer it thinner). Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for later use

Turnip au Gratin
3 large turnips
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup shaved parmesan
4 tbsp butterturnip au gratin
¼ cup milk
fresh thyme
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Peel, trim and slice the turnips very thinly. In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter. Put a layer of turnips on the bottom of the skillet on top of the butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper and add 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Add a tbsp of butter, cut into small pieces and place on top of this layer. Drizzle 2 tbsp milk over the turnips, top with some fresh thyme. Repeat steps 4-7 until a total of 3 layers are formed. Finish with a cheesy top. Bake for 25-30 minute until bubbly and brown.