Food Ladder expands to Melbourne!

Food Ladder, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and the Australian College of Agriculture and Horticulture (ACAH) partner to launch new education program. 

Not-for-profit organisation Food Ladder has partnered with VACCA and ACAH to launch a new education program in Melbourne on 12 October 2019, which will provide nutritional food and job-ready skills to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Food Ladder program will operate inside a quarter acre hydroponic food growing system in Werribee South; with the structure having the capacity to harvest 3,600 crops every three weeks.

The produce will provide much needed food security to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families, as well as help fund the program, with the fruit and vegetables being sold at the on-site pop up store and directly to local restaurants and distributors.

“We are very excited to establish the Food Ladder system in Werribee South,” explains Food Ladder CEO Kelly McJannett. “Not only will it provide the local community with nutritional produce, it will also give participants hands on business experience, from growing and harvesting produce to selling and distributing goods.”

As part of the Food Ladder program weekly accredited and non-accredited classes will be offered to community members, where they can receive a certification in horticulture as well gain job-ready skills in the agriculture industry.

“Horticulture is both an art and science that embraces technology and sustainability,” says ACAH CEO Alvin Gopal. “This program will provide students with an understanding of basic horticultural practices and an opportunity to learn essential skills such as being able to grow and harvest their own produce sustainably. Graduates can also expect to find employment in entry level roles as a horticultural tradesperson within a nursery, farm or other horticultural enterprise.”

Participants will be provided with appropriate clothing and equipment to undertake the program, and volunteer drivers will be available to take participants to and from class, ensuring the initiativeis helping those who need it most.

The Food Ladder program will also offer the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community a chance to be involved in the not-for-profit’s bush food scheme, with the Werribee system and the surrounding grounds set to focus on growing foods native to the region.

This project aligns with VACCA vision – Aboriginal self-determination – Live, Experience and Be and VACCA’s strategic plan 2018-2021, “Supporting culturally strong, safe and thriving Aboriginal communities” and the Korin Korin Balit Djak: Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan 2017-2027, “Self-determining, healthy and safe Aboriginal people and communities in Victoria.”

The initiative has been funded by the Korin Korin Balit-Djak: Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan. VACCA, Food Ladder and ACAH are committed in their efforts to implement and deliver VACCA’s Koorie Wellbeing Ways community development project over the next 12 months, as it embodies the principle of Aboriginal self-determination in improving health, wellbeing and safety.  

The Food Ladder system in Werribee South, a suburb 32km south-west of Melbourne’s CBD, will be Food Ladder’s first iteration in Victoria, following on from its success in the Northern Territory, India, Uganda and soon Bhutan.

For all media requests please contact Food Ladder’s Communications Manager Olivia Shead on 0412 786 506 or [email protected].