Two Uniting Churches in Sydney are now a part of a new initiative called “Food Connect Sydney”, which delivers affordable and fresh certified organic and chemical free produce direct from local farmers to city residents.
Boxes packed with tasty produce (on average grown 200km from Sydney) are dropped off weekly at a local host or “City Cousin” who acts as a local collection point for customers. Boxes are priced from $35 to $65. Chapel by the Sea and South Sydney Uniting Church are the City Cousins in their local neighbourhoods – in Bondi Beach and Waterloo respectively.
Food Connect is a new type of organisation that trades for a social purpose — a social enterprise. Food Connect Sydney started in February of this year, and delivers to around 25 locations across the city. It follows in the footsteps of award winning Food Connect Brisbane who have been trading for over five years and deliver to over 800 household per week.
Locally grown organic produce is very fresh and healthy, and minimises the carbon footprint associated with growing and transporting the food. And direct purchasing means the farmer gets more of the profit. For every dollar Food Connect subscribers spend on their fruit and veg box, 40 cents goes to farmers.
Food Connect not only connects farmers with city folk – it also connects city folk with each other. People can share their new recipes and cooking techniques (kale, anyone?), and perhaps even some of their own produce with other subscribers in their neighbourhoods.
At Chapel by the Sea at Bondi Beach, around 25 people collect their boxes each week. “Food Connect is something that we felt that we should support as a church. Simply by providing our building as a drop-off and pick-up point, we can be a part of an initiative that supports the environment and helps farmers,” said Rev John Queripel, minister at Chapel by the Sea.
South Sydney Uniting Church is one of the newest City Cousins. Members of the church are subscribers, as well as couple of families who read about Food Connect in the South Sydney Herald, the local paper that is run by the church. The church hopes that as the word spreads, more people in the neighbourhood will join up. One of the features of the scheme that the church particularly likes is the “swap box”. Not only are subscribers able to swap something from their own box (and perhaps even contribute by bringing something they have grown in their own garden), the left over contents are able to be shared with people in the community.
For more information about Food Connect, including subscribing and/or becoming a City Cousin, see http://sydney.foodconnect.com.au
Chapel By the Sea: www.chapelbythesea.unitingchurch.org.au
South Sydney Uniting Church: www.southsydneyuniting.org.au