The Green Connect farm is an 11-acre urban farm that uses permaculture and organic principles to produce fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey and free-range meat.
The farm is so big that from any one point on the farm you can only see about a third of it! The farm is located on land behind Warrawong High School. Entry to the Green Connect farm is via the laneway at 11 Weringa Avenue, Lake Heights. It is only open to the public for booked tours and activities at present.
What we do on the Green Connect Farm?
Grow chemical-free fruit and vegetables
Raise free-range pigs
Raise free-range sheep
Raise free-range chickens for their eggs
Run farm tours and activities
Who works at the Green Connect farm?
Cal Champagne has been the manager of Green Connect Farm since its establishment. Growing up on a permaculture demonstration property on the Far South Coast of NSW, Cal moved to the Illawarra as a young adult to study environmental sciences at UOW, before going on to postgraduate studies in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Sydney. During his studies, he got involved in permaculture locally, through volunteering in the ‘Living Classroom’ school gardens at Cringila Public School, Port Kembla Public School and Warrawong High School. When an 11-acre piece of land adjacent to Warrawong High School was made available, Cal joined Green Connect to turn this land into what is now the Green Connect Farm, one of the country’s leading examples of urban agriculture.
The Green Connect Farm Hands include our awesome former refugee staff Eh Moo, Shay and Su. Each member of the team brings a diverse range of skills in farming, growing food and life experience that make the farm a wonderful place to be. The farm team completes tasks like soil preparation, planting, harvesting and putting together our weekly veg boxes.
Work Experience / Volunteers
Green Connect is lucky to be a part of a wonderful community within the Illawarra. We have a range of volunteers at the farm including retirees who help “here and there”, interns who maintain the non-commercial parts of our farm including the native creek line and the non-productive food forest, and participants in our work experience program that is aimed at young people who are disengaged (or disengaging) from education and not yet ready for employment. This makes the farm a busy place with a rich diversity of people on it, all doing great things and contributing to Green Connect’s vision of a connected community that values people and planet.
What next for the Green Connect Farm?
We have been making the farm a productive permaculture paradise since 2013 and the next stage is to turn it in to a demonstration site that delights and inspires people. We want to fully develop the farm in order to:
- Create more jobs and employment pathways in a region with too few
- Fully utilise the land, activating the farm as a space in which the community can engage
- Expand our impact by sharing what we do (showing people what is possible and teaching and inspiring them to reduce waste and grow fair food themselves)
- Use our new accessway to the farm at 6 Anna Avenue, Warrawong, which allows us to operate independently of Warrawong High School (whose premises we currently have to drive through to access the farm with a vehicle, restricting the hours that we can operate so as to avoid school hours)
- Develop a new revenue stream, through which we can be a financially sustainable business