Helping kids change their future, and the world

It’s not often a Moment of Help comes in the form of a fresh bunch of bright green lettuce, basil, tatsoi or baby leaf spinach. But that’s exactly what help looks like for the kids at Wellington Public School on the Central Western Slopes of New South Wales on the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri people.

Thanks to Nigel McLean, project co-ordinator for Food Ladder, a small Australian not-for-profit with the goal of empowering disadvantaged communities as well as schools through food and economic security, those fresh vegetables are changing their future.  

Food Ladder installs hydroponic, climate-controlled greenhouses in some of the remotest communities in Australia and Nigel teaches kids how to use them to produce armloads of crunchy, delicious, vitamin-packed vegetables.


ABC: Cost of Living Crisis Forcing Remote Regions to Give up Fresh Produce

Jennifer Doecke used to spend $200 on a trolley of food but that only buys two bags now.

Food Ladder is directly addressing this problem with our hydroponic greenhouses supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to families in remote Australia.

“Few Australians are immune from the rising cost of living but in remote communities, the price of some staple items means they are fast becoming a luxury. 

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Food Ladder Featured on Hortidaily

“We need to get back to the training and education outside of the classroom.” Scott McDonald, Food Ladder Horticulture and Training Manager

The educational program trying to develop the next generation of horticulture workers

An Australian non-profit organization has established learning programs aimed at increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables among children and providing a pathway for students to take up jobs in horticulture.

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An Update from Food Ladder

Well, 2021 certainly has been an ‘interesting’ year thus far.

Where ever you are in the world, all of us at Food Ladder hope you and your family are keeping well. Despite the COVID outbreaks and border shutdowns around Australia, we at Food Ladder have been resilient thanks to our staff being spread across the nation and a robust rollout strategy underway. While we have had to pivot from time to time to adjust to the changing conditions, we are on track to deliver seven Food Ladder school systems before the end of the year which is a testament to the hard work and resilience of our fabulous team.

Today, Nigel McLean, our Program Manager is building the Food Ladder system in the remote WA community of Leonora. Leonora Primary School was the winner of Food Ladder’s National School Competition which amassed applications from over 50 schools in remote communities in Australia, all of whom noted a serious need for fresh, locally grown produce. We would like to thank our judges Paris Neilson, Alexandra Giles and Candice Van Doosselaere for their time and careful consideration of the applications.Profiled in The Australian newspaper,  Indigenous Affairs reported, Paige Taylor said:

“Children in the West Australian outback town of Leonora are about to make radical change to the way their town gets its food.The desert center 830km northeast of Perth will grow its own produce – part of a quiet national movement to change Australia’s response to the dearth of fresh, healthy and affordable food in remote communities.”You can watch the winning video application from Leonora here. We look forward to keeping you up to date with the progress of this exciting project, and the outcomes from all the wonderful communities receiving Food Ladder systems in our rollout across Australia.

Enjoy reading this update on what we have been up to and as always a huge thank you to our supporters, Chris Cuffe, Duncan Saville, Jane and Andrew Clifford, Paris Neilson and our corporate partners Norton Rose Fulbright, Melrose Health and Resimac. We could not achieve this level of impact without you.

Warm regards,

Kelly, Alex, Tate, Scott, Nigel, India and Lucy.
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Take a look inside the Tennant Creek Food Ladder with ABC Online

For most Australians buying fresh food is simple, but what about people living in the most remote parts of the country? 

In Tennant Creek, the local high school and Food Ladder have built a greenhouse at the Juno Centre, to show kids how easy it is to grow their own vegetables. 

They say similar greenhouses could be built in other remote communities.

This story was featured on 15+ ABC Facebook pages, including Landline, Gardening Australia and ABC Indigenous. In the first 3 days it was viewed 150,000 times!

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Tennant Creek Food Ladder profiled on ABC’s flagship radio program, AM

By Steven Schubert

For most Australians, buying fresh fruit and vegetables is something we take for granted.

But in remote parts of the country, they’re hard to find or unaffordable – and that creates health issues, particularly in Indigenous communities. 

Now, a brand new greenhouse near the remote Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek is being heralded as a model for other regions.

Continue reading “Tennant Creek Food Ladder profiled on ABC’s flagship radio program, AM”