2015 in review

Produce to the People | our week on The Farm November week 1 2015

The calculations have been done and we are all blown away by the Produce to the People stats for 2015.

5214 people visited our Emergency Food Relief hub in Burnie + an additional 2622 people had food delivered to them by people visiting the hub and via our outreach to Wynyard.  Our outreach food collection partner programs (based in Smithton, Ulverstone, East Devonport and Launceston) saw an additional 8000 people assisted.  That is a whopping 15,836 people.

Let’s pause to think about the actual EFR hub numbers….Burnie has a population of just under 20,000 people and we have seen 5214 come through our little door in 2015. Yes, we see some people more than once but a majority are unique visits.

In Burnie alone we have gathered 20,000 kilos of fresh produce, 20,769 rolls and 5243 loaves of bread.  This doesn’t include the ambient goods we purchase via Foodbank.

I am so proud of our team (staff, work for the dole participants, Burnie High students and our volunteers) who are all a part of making this happen.  Our Farm is going great guns with so much of the land now under production.  There is going to be so much produce to the people in 2016!

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More produce is a good thing because we imagine the numbers of people through our doors will increase and we will also be growing our produce box outreach program.  We will announce more about this, and a few other exciting projects, in the coming month.

So 2015.  Lots of fresh veggies, lots of people, lots of tv appearances!  A cool room, a new Patron, new relationships with generous farmers and lots of visits from interested community groups and school kiddies.

Lots of community love, which is what we are all about.

Grow, gather, give and love the one you’re with  xx

b and w carrot line drawing

Introducing you to Kingsley…

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Kinglsey is the newest member of the Produce to the People team, he is one of our work for the dole supervisors and all round nice guy.  (Fun fact: He is applying for the Australian version of Survivor and we think he will be SO AWESOME as a contestant).

I asked him for his bio and this is what he gave me…

Is the way we grow our food worth the damage it causes the environment?  

We humans with our superior intellect and opposable thumbs transform the landscape to our needs and impose our will upon all other life. We cut down forests, dam rivers,  grow animals in pens,  spray poisons on our fruit and vegetables, manipulate genetics, release viruses to control pests,  destroy habitats and kill animals to extinction, we plunder the oceans,  grow plants hydroponically and think it’s good, we deplete the soils of nutrients and replace it with chemicals and then pollute the earth with our by products and waste.

I’ve worked with cattle, goats, sheep and deer. I’ve worked on orchards, cropping farms and in forestry and the one thing they had in common is that they where monocultures, they were all grown in isolation, in a manipulated environment with the use of chemicals and sprays, vaccines and drenches.

I was talking to an old guy the other day, he grew up on a fifty acre farm at the back of Ulverstone and I asked him what they grew and he said everything. They butchered their meat, grew their vegies and milked the cows. Now we have such a disconnection with food and where it comes from. We have kids coming over to the farm that have never picked fruit from a tree or vegetables from the garden, that don’t see the connection between that live chicken and a piece of KFC. That haven’t seen how animals, plants and the soil are all interrelated.

I’ve been interested in permaculture since the early nineties when I first picked up a copy of an introduction to permaculture by Bill Mollison and David Holgram. The ethics of permaculture, care of the earth, care of people and the sharing of surplus. The principles, integrate rather than segregate, use and value diversity, produce no waste, obtain a yield, observe and interact, it just made sense to me.

I’m thankful to be given this opportunity to work with Produce to the People and the Burnie High School. To have this chance to pass on some of my knowledge and to incorporate permaculture design principles into the school farm. To help create a sustainable community garden, where surplus in given away, where kids can pick fruit from a tree, where you can walk through a food forest and see the different foods ripen with the seasons. To see the interaction between plants and how they can benefit each other. Maybe one day one of the kids passing through the farm might lead the way to a more sustainable, holistic, chemical free, farming future.

b and w carrot line drawing

The first week in December

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A sucky start but a fabulous finish.  This was our week on The Farm.

A break in to begin – we are still shaking our heads (as is the majority of the community) as to why some numnut would take the time to break in, release the animals knowing full well they would get into the veggie gardens and eat everything in sight – tip over the portaloo and bins, break windows, turn on taps – knowing they would flood the garden – they maybe didn’t know it would then flood the storerooms and food hub – and pull out SO MANY plants.  We are still waiting to see if the front garden was in fact covered in chemicals.

However, the response from the community has been wonderful.  So many donations of plants, so many kind words for our work, so many in disbelief that someone would do such a thing. We are loving our community for knowing that planting plants is good for the soul.

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The fabulous finish was threefold – the above mentioned community support.  Some fabulous work placement students from Burnie High flexing their muscles to mulch for hours and hours AND a visit from the Kinder class at Cooee Primary.  These tiny energetic, questioning, enthusiastic, scrumptious dynamos were just the tonic we needed!

Grow, gather, give and love the one you’re with xx

b and w carrot line drawing