Green Connect has been supplying the Illawarra with organic, seasonal vegetables for four years and now their veg boxes are available in Kiama.
Green Connect employs young people and former refugees in jobs that make the planet better – including growing fair food and reducing waste.
Their farm is based at the back of Warrawong High School, in what used to be an overgrown and forgotten wasteland.
Since 2014 Green Connect has used permaculture practices to turn it into a lush valley of flourishing vegetables and herbs. They call it “fair food” - meaning food that is good for those who grow it (fair wages and good jobs) good for those who eat it (fresh and healthy) and good for the planet (local and pesticide-free).
In addition to their organic farm, they also help businesses, schools, local government and event organisers reduce waste to landfill or even go “zero waste”.
Green Connect have been supplying weekly veg boxes to seven different pickup points around Wollongong, as well as home delivery between Bellambi and Windang, and they are now looking to expand south.
The team at Kiama Anglican Church have kindly offered to be a pick-up point for Green Connect’s fruit and veg boxes every Thursday.
The vegetables grown at the Green Connect farm are seasonal, which is reflected in availability and produce.
It’s a great way to eat local, seasonal food and support young people and former refugees to gain and maintain good jobs.
More about what Green Connect does
Wollongong has a big refugee population, and only 31 per cent of refugees in Australia have a job five years after resettlement.
In Port Kembla and Warrawong, where Green Connect is based, youth unemployment is around 30 per cent.
So Green Connect set up to:
- Reduce waste to landfill and turn organic waste into compost
- Grow and distribute fair food
- Create good jobs and employment pathways, particularly for former refugees and young people
- Engage and connect our community
- Be a sustainable business
Green Connect delivers amazing social and environmental outcomes. Last year they:
- Kept 2,653 tonnes of waste out of landfill
- Grew and distributed 20,628 kilograms of fair food
- Employed 106 former refugees and young people
Former staff member Remember Agbozo, who was born in Togo, went to a refugee camp because of the war between the government and the opposition.
“My father was in the opposition side. It wasn't easy. My parents passed away. I was 15 years when I started refugee life. I was in Ghana in a refugee camp 19 years,” he said.
“When I first came to Wollongong I wanted to work. I applied for many jobs, but no-one was hiring.
“I had spent all of my adult life in a refugee camp so had never had a job before. I like Wollongong. But to get work, especially in Wollongong, is very, very difficult. I applied for lots of jobs. I don't like sitting down idly doing nothing. But there was no job for us.
“Green Connect find me a new job. I have been doing hard work for them and they appreciate it. It change my life. Now I'm feeding myself. No more Centrelink. Now I am a person who gives that back. I like it very, very well. It's a better life.”
To sign up for a Green Connect organic vegetable box go to green-connect-vegbox.com.au or email them at email@example.com