Cal Champagne says the new farm setup at Green Connect's Warrawong base is like being in a new world.
He's been there as farm manager since the social enterprise took on the farm, but the facilities had always been limited - a couple of shipping containers and little vehicle access.
That's changed now, with a new set-up allowing for expansion and more education programs to be run.
"Ove the past year we've been developing our new farm hub - for seven years we've been operating out of a couple of containers at the other end of the farm," Mr Champagne said.
"We finally sourced funding to set up a fit-for-purpose farm hub. We've set up a processing area and packing shed with a cool room, an outdoor education centre, a kids' garden, demonstration permaculture garden and a welcome garden that backs on to Anna Ave.
"We don't know ourselves - feel like we've moved into a mansion."
This Saturday they're holding an open day to show off their proud new improvements to the commmunity.
Green Connect general manager Kylie Flament said the redevelopment would open up the farm for environmental education, while providing work for young people and former refugees during the pandemic.
"The redevelopment means we can increase food production, jobs, community engagement and financial sustainability at the farm," Ms Flament said.
Funding has come from the Ian Potter Foundation, Westpac Foundation, the NSW Government's My Community Project fund, and local arborists Bohmer's Tree Care.
Mr Champagne said Green Connect employed 12 permanent staff, with the 11 acres of land owned by the Education Department. Warrawong High is next door.
We don't know ourselves - feel like we've moved into a mansion- Cam Champagne, farm manager
"We have a whole bunch of volunteers who come one day a week - between eight and fifteen people," Mr Champagne said.
And we run a youth work experience program where we've got large groups of young people coming through, who may often continue into paid employment in other areas of Green Connect, where we work with other businesses out in the community."
People working on the redevelopment included some from the NSW Government-funded Green Connect youth employment program, which ended last week. The company said of 97 participants in the program, 62 gained paid employment, 40 gained long-term contracts and 28 worked for six months or more.
The open day will self-guided tours, a scavenger hunt, kids' activities, a farm produce stall and games.
Entry is by donation and tickets can be booked via the Green Connect website.
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