Renée Gardiner, Fremantle Social Farm

Growing Change exists to empower people, build social inclusion and provide pathways to sustainable livelihoods through growing, making and selling food in Australia. And, was founded in 2014 by Renée Gardiner to fill a gap in social connection and employment opportunities for people experiencing mental illness, homelessness and social isolation.

Growing Change is establishing Fremantle Social Farm, a micro-farming venture in Fremantle, Australia that utilizes unused land, connects with vulnerable individuals and fosters group therapeutic care through horticultural programming. First, unused spaces in residential areas are secured under peppercorn lease arrangements. Then, Fremantle Social Farm establishes networks with local agencies to enrol up to 15 people from vulnerable and disadvantaged circumstances.

Over 12 weeks the participants learn how to prepare, plant, grow, nurture and harvest organic and high quality produce. Program graduates have the opportunity to rent farm land and establish a micro-business by growing produce which Growing Change sells to existing customer networks. The revenue from produce sales provides people with a modest income.

The project will deliver a sustainable community-based model to facilitate a coordinated approach to achieving social impact, and provide support for long-term solutions to mental illness, homelessness and social isolation in Fremantle.

For more information about Fremantle Social Farm, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

GRANT AWARD DATE: November 26, 2015