Man tending to his hot house garden
Our community

Produce to the people

It’s a hub of activity as you walk into the garden behind Burnie High School.

Volunteers are packing food into cardboard boxes. Some are watering rows of silverbeet. Others are tending to micro-greens and mushrooms. The resident alpacas Francine, Florence and Freya are roaming around. As are the free range chickens, roosters and ducks.

Produce to the People calls this garden home. They’re a not-for-profit that provides free emergency food relief to vulnerable Tasmanians in the north-west. They supply fruit and veggies, bread, tinned goods and frozen meals to more than 300 people a week. And every week they see new faces.

You can find Produce to the People behind Burnie High School.

Their Food Hub is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10.30am and 1.30pm. It’s set up like a farmer’s market to create a positive experience rather than it feeling like a hand out. Everyone is welcome to visit and take what they need.

“We want everyone to feel welcome,” Produce to the People Acting General Manager, Michelle said.

“There’s no judgement and there’s dignity.”

The team of volunteers also hits the road to deliver food to the elderly and other organisations.

It all started a couple of years ago with two volunteers. Back then, people only wanted sliced white bread. Produce to the People now has more than 80 volunteers bringing the garden to life. The community loves the fresh veggies and the donations from backyard growers and local businesses.

The community spirit at Produce to the People is obvious. Not long ago, a local man donated 102kg of pumpkin he’d grown in his backyard. As they were unloading it, he signed up as a volunteer right there and then.

The garden in thriving thanks to the volunteers.

They’re already doing a world of good, but there’s so much more Produce to the People wants to do for the community. In the future, they’d love to host cooking and preserving workshops, as well as budgeting programs and weaving classes.

They were in need of  a barbecue, which was made possible through our Community Fund. It’ll be the centerpiece for a new pergola, a joint project with the kids at Burnie High School. Once it’s finished, the barbecue area will be a great spot for the community to enjoy the garden together.

Produce to the People is always after new volunteers and donations. No matter your age or where you’re at in life, there’s always a place for you.

“Everybody gets on really well together,” Michelle said.

“It’s like a big family.”