Farming skills help build social enterprise

Posted on Monday, 20 November 2017

An organisation out at Western Sydney is helping empower people who have been marginalised or face severe disadvantage by equipping them with practical farming, gardening and construction skills.

Cana Farm, which is part of Cana Communities, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, offers a safe place where people can learn life skills and be a part of a community in a sustainable way since 2011. The farm teaches participants how to grow fresh produce, care for live animals like chickens and bees, and then how to safely turn produce into quality products such as jams, chutneys and sauces via accredited classes at Western Sydney TAFE Outreach.

The completed food products are then sold at markets and stores and 100 per cent of the profits go back into the charity to provide further employment and education opportunities.

“The farm has over the past six years provided significant employment opportunities and training through our partnership with Outreach TAFE, and a green space for many people who would otherwise be unable to enjoy such an experience. The farm has helped employ some 15 people at any one time; people who have been severely disadvantaged in their lives,” said Danielle Seisun, Farm Leader at Cana Farm.

“The farm has been very successful in a broad range of ways, no more so than the relationship it has with the Compulsory Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation at Parklea. Many of the men will tell you Cana is the first time they have felt the hope to change their lives following a repeated history of recidivism.”

Showing their support for sustainable community enterprises, Canterbury League Club donated $5,000 to Cana Communities and purchased several pallets of jams and chutneys to use within the Club.

“Community enterprises are a wonderful way for charities to operate because it breaks the cycle of dependency for regular handouts. Education and experience gained through this model empowers participants with useful skills that can help them find stable mainstream employment and eventually leads them to getting back on their feet and re-integrating into the regular community,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.