We’re back with a plan and a share if you care

Midwinter breaks are good for many reasons – for sleep-ins, you get to work on your own garden, you don’t have to respond to emails or read/watch the news, and you get a break from what can sometimes be a whole lot of overwhelm.

Luckily for us just before we took our break a lot of really interesting things happened.  We got to chat with the Deputy Premier, Jeremy Rockliff about how politically we could position ourselves for more government attention, we spent time with our Patron, NW Tassie champion and all round good guy  and go getter Ben Milbourne who not only filmed an episode of his show Food Lab by Ben Milbourne on site but, we also got some incredibly positive feedback on a couple of products we will be producing for his soon to be open restaurant in Providore Place that is part of the Devonport Living City development. We also spoke in house – the board and volunteers and founder/GM Penelope (me) – about what PttP will look like over the next six months or so.

First exciting cab off the rank is the reintroduction of our home delivery of veggie boxes to elders in our community.

veggie box elders jo and keith.jpg

You may remember we received some funding a while back (now long expended) that saw us deliver 50 + veggie boxes to people in our community who were not only doing it tough, but also had no way of getting to us on The Farm where our food hub is open during the week.  We were over subscribed at the get go and fed a lot of people but it did get a little out of hand in terms of the people we were delivering to.  Its always going to be a bit of a challenge for us and our “ask no questions” policy but this time we are doing things a little differently.

There will be guidelines as to who we can deliver to, and as this is a self/community funded project we are starting with elders only who have no transport who live in the Burnie+Somerset+Wynyard areas.

But there is a but………

This time we are asking you to help us by donating $25 each month for a minimum 12 months.  This money will go towards vehicle costs mostly but also pantry staples to add depth to our boxes.  We think this a great way your office or family or service group, or footy club could make a big difference in the life of some of our most vulnerable elders.

You can head over to our give now page where we have set up a “Produce to the Elders” cause page so you can easily contribute.

$25 elders ad

We know our Produce to the People community is generous to a fault – the more people you share this opportunity with the more elders will receive a box of fresh produce each week.

Click a few buttons and lets make this happen!


PttP hands


Produce to the People people


Keeping stats is part of every community project.  Stats on produce grown, stats on produce gathered, stats on produce given, stats on volunteer hours, stats on people assisted…..

We keep a tally every day we are open of the food we gather AND the numbers of people we assist, we try to keep this low key as we are pretty firm about dignity with food access but every year over one month we get into a little more detail and ask a series of questions to gather demographic stats. Luckily for us our Board Member Amina Keygan is officially a Population Demographer and she is able to translate the data for us.

Here’s the information gathered over the month of May, 2017:

In May 2017, 1,703 people were fed food sourced from Produce to the People. This was up from April (1,043) figures by 660 people or an increase of 63%. The majority of people who sourced food from Produce to the People were women (76%), and were aged primarily between 35-39 years old and those aged over 65 years.

The majority of those assisted in May were from the 7320 postcode (63%), followed by those in the 7325 postcode (17%). Similarly, 63% of those assisted in May were pensioners, followed by those who were unemployed (19%) and carers (8%). Of those on a pension, almost half were on a disability pension, while one quarter were on the aged pension. The remaining clients were either sole parents or living on a carer’s pension.

Only 1% of clients who accessed the service were on incomes between $26,000-$40,000 per annum, while the remaining 99% lived on incomes of less than $25,000.

The ‘average’ client was single, followed by those who are living in coupled relationships, and the majority of those who access Produce to the People gather food for 2-3 people (45%), although a large proportion of clients are accessing food for five or more people (22%). Close to 60% of those coming to Produce to the People are accessing food for their families and themselves (19%), followed by those who collect food for friends unable to (14%). Close to half (49%) of all clients are accessing the food service weekly, followed by those who access the service twice weekly (14%).


PttP hands

Reality to the People

collage june 2017

As many of you who have been on the Produce to the People journey over the last seven or so years would know, this organisation has been run as a pretty tight ship. We’ve been sniffing oily rags and gratefully receiving donations from the amazing and big hearted people of our community, with a single focus of getting fresh food to those who need it with love and respect.

It’s a funny old thing that the clear and present needs of real Tasmanian’s so often go unnoticed, despite how many times we tweet, blog, and write to politicians, and talk to community groups about our escalating customers, and our realistic costs to run the farm and the hub, with the same amount of staff it was started with when it was just me and the van dropping off excess produce grown in domestic gardens.

It was super disappointing for PttP to not be given any funding increase in the latest State budget. For total transparency we get $25,000 from the Tasmanian Government a year to be spent on emergency food relief. That might sound like a lot, but when you think about the cost of running a food hub operation, 2 acre farm, whilst experimenting with social enterprise ideas to ensure financial sustainability, and all of the behind the scenes activity, even managing a fleet of amazing volunteers, this doesn’t even cover minimum wages for one person, one day a week, let alone the other expenses.

And so, after many years of lobbying, and begging, and belt tightening, the reality is, we can’t keep the hub open at the same level – we simply don’t have the funding to do it. It breaks our heart, but we are like any business with expenses, inputs and outputs, insurance, and at the end of the working week, we don’t have any revenue coming in from the hundreds of kilos of food we distribute – because it’s given away. That’s what we do right?

We have some brilliant plans on how to make money and become self sufficient. But like everything else, we need people to implement them, and what we need is well beyond what we’d ask a volunteer to contribute. We need investment, and we need someone to get our back with an injection of funds that allow us to scale up our food growing operations, and scale up our value adding operations. With that, we could operate, become sustainable, and grow, gather and give more than we do now.

Our only option is to open one day a week to distribute food from the hub. That is all we can responsibly afford. As a Not-For-Profit social enterprise, we have to operate under certain legal guidelines, and one of them is operating solvently. In other words we have to have money in the bank to cover all our costs. If we want to keep operating, then we can only do the hub one day a week. So from July we will be open Tuesdays. We will still be at the farm growing and doing the hours of work needed behind the scenes to keep the hub full of fresh, free food, but there are no resources to open for longer.

We love our customers, our community and our volunteers. It is our deepest, most heartfelt wish that we can find the generous sponsorship needed, and achieve our dream of how this social enterprise can truly enrich the community with jobs, skills, free food and delicious value added products. We ask you to keep supporting us, and if you use our service, keep asking the question of your local members as to why we aren’t seen as an organisation valuable enough to support. Don’t worry, we haven’t given up on us, and hope you don’t either. Look forward to seeing you on Tuesdays.

Penelope Dodd, Founder + The Produce to the People Board

If you would like to make a donation – one off or ongoing – please head to our Give Now page.  *We are working on gaining tax deductible gift status which means you can claim your donation.  It hasn’t happened yet but the paperwork has been lodged.

hub hours july 2017.jpg




PttP hands