Food Next Door

Enterprise name  Food Next Door Co-op

What’s the trading activity 

We operate Out of the Box, a weekly local produce box scheme of 100% local produce grown to organic and regenerative practices. Approximately 80 households in Sunraysia currently subscribe to Out of the Box.

What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

Out of the Box supports small-scale farmers; we guarantee a minimum 50% return from each box directly to local farmers. We donate $1 from every box directly to support an intern in our on-farm training program for new migrant farmers. Remaining profits are re-invested in Food Next Door’s Community Demonstration Farm to build community and sustainable local economies through food.

How are you going with the work?

Since COVID-19 restrictions we have seen a 30% increase in weekly sales. We were able to respond quickly by increasing plantings at our community farm and supporting our small-scale farmers to increase plantings on their farms too. So far our supply is keeping up (more or less) with demand and we hope to continue building our customer base.

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Mosaik Experiences

Mosaik Experiences

Enterprise name  Mosaik Experiences

What’s the trading activity  Mosaik Experiences is a social enterprise that aims to inspire a sense of community and belonging, by blending the power of arts and culture.

We provide unique, authentic, memorable and participative cultural experiences which include music, dance, art & crafts, language and food, perfect for lifestyle programs and celebrations at aged care facilities, disability and senior groups.

Our workshops, programs and entertainment generate opportunities for enjoyment, welcoming and inclusive environment and, at the same time, creates a connection among the participants.

As a social enterprise, we generate job opportunities for migrants who are part of the team performing and facilitating the experiences. We also support social programs for seniors and people with disabilities at community houses.

Our vision is a happier, more inclusive and more connected society.

What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

We exist to address cultural and social isolation in Australia, particularly with migrants, older adults and people with disabilities.

What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

Sister Works

Sister Works

Enterprise name SisterWorks

What’s the trading activity?

SisterWorks is a not-for-profit social enterprise, based in Melbourne. Through work and entrepreneurship, our mission is to support women who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants to improve their confidence, mental wellbeing and sense of belonging.

Our Vision: An Australia where all migrant women are given the opportunities to become economically empowered.

We function as an enterprise by selling ethical and sustainable products that are handmade my our migrant, refugee and asylum seeker Sisters in weekly workshops. These workshops develop their professional skills to increase opportunity for employment and education. At least 50% of the profit from each sale goes directly to the Sister that makes it.

We are based in Melbourne, with two stores, one in Richmond and the other in South Yarra.

What is your hope for the future?

We hope to expand our model to reach migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women all across Australia. We want to go to them rather then depending on the women to come to us.

How are you going with the work?

Our model of work has shifted greatly, given the current Covid situation. Our sales are now all online, with our retail stores closing face to face contact.

As our Empowerment hubs and shops have suspended face to face contact, we have shifted online and we are using creativity to move forward. Our highest priority is to keep our Sisters engaged and economically empowered. We decided that if our Sisters cannot come to us, we can go to them using technology and visiting them in their homes. To do this we are embracing our ‘learning by doing’ approach and implementing a proactive, remote activities model.

To maintain engagement with our Sisters in an environment of physical distancing, we have started e-classes and created individual support plans for each Sister. Our regular skill development workshops are still functioning via live, video meetings on a weekly basis. All of the resources, materials and instructions are delivered directly to our Sisters’ homes using the necessary precautions around physical distancing. We want our Sisters to continue to be engaged and each week we aim to involve more and more Sisters.

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The Community Grocer

The Community Grocer

Enterprise name  The Community Grocer

What’s the trading activity?

  The Community Grocer (TCG) believes a vibrant market place is a powerful setting for social and environmental change. We run weekly affordable fresh food markets to support healthy connected communities. We address the physical, economic, and social barriers to fresh food access by holding markets in convenient locations in low-income areas; stocking culturally appropriate produce; and creating a weekly gathering space that promotes community connections and celebrates diversity.

  What’s the social or environmental cause your enterprise addresses?

With the rising costs of living, many households are struggling to put fresh food on the table. 41% of Victorians now experience food insecurity. Moving beyond traditional welfare models of food relief, we offer customers choice and dignity to purchase quality produce at prices 60% cheaper than any other local food outlet, including the major supermarkets. We run five weekly markets in Carlton, Fitzroy, Fawkner, Heidelberg West and Pakenham, serving over 500 households each week.

 What’s the biggest challenge?

We don’t have key infrastructure, like a cool room and vehicle, that would enable us to have control of our own purchasing and distribution (rather than relying on a wholesaler). This would increase our financial viability, create opportunity for growth and enable us to have positive environmental impacts by purchasing our produce from local sustainable farms and urban farming enterprise. We have the growing partnerships in place, but we need some cash to get set up!

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Collingwood Toy Library

Collingwood Toy Library

Enterprise name  Collingwood Toy Library

What’s the cause  The Collingwood Toy Library is a not-for-profit community managed organisation that provides a toy lending service to families with young children. We have 27 years’ experience promoting the educational value of play for young children and encouraging positive adult/child interactions through the provision of quality toys, games and equipment. By enabling families to borrow rather than buy, we assist families’ sustainability both financially as well as environmentally.

What’s the trading activity  The Collingwood Toy Library has an extensive range of toys for loan to member families. The stock includes quality toys, games, puzzles, musical instruments, costumes and other play equipment, which is selected to stimulate the development of children, including those with special needs. We currently have over 900 children who use the library.

How are you going with the work?  Over the past 3 years the toy library has grown from 300 member families to over 630 member families, that’s the biggest we have ever been in our 27 year history. We are one of the largest Toy Libraries in Australia and are continuing to grow. We have expanded our collection to include board games and puzzles for families with older kids as well as adults playing without children and we now have a huge selection of 1000 table top games for families of all ages.

Biggest challenge  Our biggest challenge is lack of physical space to store and display over 4300 toys while still providing a space that is welcoming and serves as an informal meeting space for local parents.

Hope for the future   We hope to continue to expand to be able to offer the great range of toys and friendly advice that our members rely on.

CERES Community Environment Park

CERES Community Environment Park

Enterprise name  CERES Community Environment Park

What’s the cause  CERES works in a number of areas, but our largest and most well known is our environmental education programs. Our primary objective is to help people fall in love with the Earth again.

What’s the trading activity  CERES encompasses an organic cafe, plant nursery and organic grocery, as well as our smaller venue hire, organic microgreens and free-range egg enterprises, just to name a few.

How are you going with the work?  Our large 4.5 hectare physical presence means we capture thousands of people in the local community, who simply visit for a stroll through green space. In addition to these casual visitors, a significant number of people experience CERES through hiring a venue for events. With a range of informal and formal venues available at comparatively reasonable prices, this enterprise allows the opportunity to introduce CERES to members of the public who may not already be familiar with the site. As mentioned, there a number of different pathways by which people find their way to CERES, such as workshops, community groups and volunteering.

Biggest challenge  Our biggest challenge is finding the capacity to carry out the many projects that are required to keep CERES running smoothly and effectively for the community. We rely on volunteers to assist with the shortfall, and could not keep the site open, maintained and free for all to visit if it weren’t for the hard work of our volunteers. While many of our activities can be supported by funds generated through our many small social enterprises, we are still beholden to the strategic focus of local and state government when seeking assistance to continue providing a dedicated service to the community.

Hope for the future  Our hope for the future is that our work will expand further beyond Brunswick East, and the reach of our social enterprises will grow. We hope that more people will feel compelled to choose a closer and deeper connection with the Earth by visiting CERES and supporting the work that we do.