Produce to the People Inc. is on a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. Set on two acres within the grounds of Burnie High School in Cooee, North West Tasmania, we operate a diversified, four-season farm and an education centre that hosts thousands of visitors each year. We are a social profit organisation, recognised as a PBI and have DGR status which means your donations are tax deductible, and our ethos is “grow, gather, give”.
The work we do includes:
- Provide a free, emergency food relief hub where the community can access fresh produce grown on The Farm, donated through backyard growers or rescued from food waste.
- Experiment with and improve sustainable farming practices.
- Helping children discover the sources of their food via tours and workshops.
- Increasing public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.
- Educate the community on how to cook and preserve fresh seasonal food in nutritious ways.
- Train and educate community members in innovative and entrepreneurial ways to create food products and micro businesses using fresh produce.
We encourage trust relationships with an emphasis on dignity for all.
We use government funds to invest in our community, playing our part towards achieving better health and education outcomes that may lead to a brighter future for individuals and Tasmania. We also have a plan to become financially self sufficient – with your help!
The Farm has been in situ for 20 years and over the years has seen hundreds of High School students learn many, many aspects of agri business. For the past four years though there was no funding to run programs and The Farm lay dormant. Produce to the People and Burnie High sat down and had a chat and decided a relationship was worth exploring. Both parties are VERY happy with all that is happening.
We have had huge numbers through our Burnie gate in 2016 and it has been our greatest pleasure to feed our community. 9342 have accessed our fresh food in 2016 – a 79% increase on 2015 – our food hub is only open two days each week – Plus approx. another 8000 via our remote food access service that extends from Smithton through to Launceston. These numbers have increased partly due to our home delivery service to elders and others and the assistance we give to local schools. The people we see are a real cross section of the community. Of course anyone surviving on a pension is living below the poverty line so we see many older women and men, young mums, couch surfing blokes, people that may have been retrenched or have lost their job, people who have just moved into accommodation and after paying bond and rent can’t manage food as well.
In 2016 our program reached over 17,000 people.
Here is a little Produce to the People Tasmania history:
- 2009 bumper tomato crop from abundant backyard garden. Friends say “No more, you have shared enough”. Thought bubble…….what is happening to all the excess backyard grown produce in the NW of the state?
- Community Capacity Building Grant from the State Government to explore the possibilities…
- Networks built with backyard growers, local cafes and not for profit organisations
- Tasmanian Community Fund grant to continue the work.
- Farmers come on board!
- Various grants from State and Federal Government + another couple of places, all with end dates. Each time a new fight to keep Produce to the People growing.
- After 4 years and up to 25,000 kilos of fresh locally grow veggies each year being given across the north west coast of Tasmania to hundreds of people each week via Agencies, Community Houses and Primary Schools AND numerous Snack Gardens placed in Primary Schools.
- 2013/14 project focus solely on Primary Schools in the Central Coast and Burnie catchment, where fresh locally grown veggies delivered each week and the continuation of our Snack Garden program in existing partner Schools + adding a few more into the mix. There will also be visits to farms by students and visits by farmers to schools.
- With a change in Federal Government so to came the end of Federal support. The new social services (emergency food relief) grants were targeted towards Australia wide organisations not local ones so unfortunately we were never going to be a favoured applicant. Food Bank and Second Bite were the successful services with a Tasmanian presence though interestingly because the funding was given in a lump there is no breakdown of what is coming to Tasmania – let alone the NW.
- Late 2014 we move into The Farm at Burnie High School. Around 2 acres of land with fabulous infrastructure but a lack of love. Working in partnership with the school we have have a free food hub three days a week and lots of land waiting to receive seeds! Back to our roots and what I always wanted PttP to be – a holistic food centred educational project.
- A small amount of State Government funding and a Work for the Dole Project keeps 2 part time employees paid in a very part time way.
We will also be piloting a couple of money making projects. Let’s see if we can’t support ourselves in our continuing community food adventures. We have some pretty good ideas so check backing here to see how we go putting ideas into practise!
Thanks so much for dropping by!
For now, remember to grow, gather, give and love the one you’re with.
Founder, Produce to the People Tasmania