Employment for vulnerable and disadvantaged

by Angus Jones

A much-loved farm in Sydney’s Greater West that provides employment for vulnerable and disadvantaged people is calling on businesses to consider setting up a corporate market stall or ordering hampers this Christmas. 

Gifts with meaning and purpose are increasing in appeal for Australians, including businesses. The 2022 World Giving Report ranked Australia as the fourth most generous country in the world, with 3 in 5 Aussies making a financial donation to charity. Research has found that people give to causes that align with their values and culture, for satisfaction, because they want to give back and do the right thing[1].

Cana Communities is a registered charity that provides accommodation and wrap around support for vulnerable people who want to reintegrate into society. It receives no government funding. An integral part of its mission is its social enterprise, Cana Farm. Located in Orchard Hills in Sydney’s Greater West, Cana Farm has been helping educate and offer extensive outreach opportunities, life skills and community involvement to severely disadvantaged people since 2011. With the help of volunteers, the farm prepares locally grown and chemical-free produce that it sells through its physical and online farm shop. The shop also sells vegetable boxes, hampers, candles, pantry items and free-range eggs. 

Cana is encouraging businesses to consider Cana Farm’s new range of corporate Christmas gifts, or to hold a Cana Farm Christmas market stall on site for their staff to enjoy. 

Proceeds from all sales support Cana’s group homes and shelters in the inner city where community members are supported to rebuild their lives. The production of retail products, hampers and gift sets, and fresh produce provides education and work opportunities for people making a significant change to their lives. 

It is also urging businesses to consider a longer-term partnership with Cana Farm. Canva, which prioritises sustainable and ethically sourced products, is one of a few organisations already supporting Cana Farm. Cana will provide healthy and sustainable produce for Canva’s internal ‘The Communal Table’ program. The program aims to bring the Canva team together to enjoy seasonal, nutritious and delicious breakfasts and lunches within inclusive communal spaces to foster meaningful conversation and connection. The first delivery of vegetables to Canva has been received and was a huge success. The delivery included kale, silverbeet, rainbow chard, bok choy, spring onions, fennel, parsley, radish, carrot, broccoli and leek. The Canva kitchen feeds up to 600 people per day, with all leftover meals donated to Oz Harvest.

“We’re excited to partner with the great team at Cana Communities to incorporate their farm’s chemical-free vegetables and produce into some of the hundreds of meals we serve to our team each day while supporting vulnerable communities and sharing Cana’s amazing story with others,” said Canva’s Global Chef Lead, Mark Hanover.

Endeavour Energy is another consistent supporter of Cana Communities. Cana is presently packaging 1700 gifts with a personalised message for Endeavour staff.

Director of Mission, Julie Sneddon, says by hosting a Cana Farm Christmas stall or buying from Cana Farm’s corporate Christmas gifts, people can ensure their money stays local this Christmas season.

“Purchasing our products helps us to provide support and continue to run the farm, which provides a place for vulnerable people to grow and flourish.”

Julie continues: “Cana Farm also offers a way for companies to engage in their corporate responsibility days. Groups of up to 25 people can come to the farm and work alongside our community mentors. 

Find the full Cana Farm Christmas Catalogue here https://www.canafarm.com.au/our-shop/christmas  

For more information on corporate volunteering at the farm or to register your organisation’s interest in hosting a Cana Farm stall, visit https://www.cana.org.au/volunteer or contact [email protected]  

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