The Mulberry Project is a pilot social enterprise based in the Toowoomba Region in Queensland. Our project seeks to address unemployment and depression in new migrant communities by transforming underutilised farmland into niche market gardens and facilitating opportunities for economic participation, training and well-being for migrants.
The Mulberry Project began in late September 2016 while picking mulberries on our family property in Nobby, south of Toowoomba on the Darling Downs. A Zimbabwean friend, Shupi Kanemanyanga said, “What’s all this “dirty” grass doing here?” “Why aren’t you growing anything? My people are without work and we all know how to grow food.” With the help of local farmer Andrew Manz, we cultivated a plot of 500m2 and in four months we have harvested over 600 bunches of leaf vegetable and 120kg of zucchinis, okra, tomatoes & chillies. The Masabah & Numbi families, recently arrived refugees from the Congo, have been working hard on the project with us and together we have grown over 40 different varieties of vegetable and shared produce with more than 20 families. As Schadrach Msabah so movingly said, "Without the foods that our community loves to eat, we feel like visitors. When we see these foods, when we can grow them, we feel like we are at home."
The impact of the Mulberry Project is to reinforce and empower community by engaging new migrants with activities that value existing skills sets, offer opportunities for training and create a sense well-being for persons having experienced dislocation and trauma. Our project is still in its early stages, however we are using the 2016-2017 growing season to test demand and the suitability of various cultivars to our local conditions.
Our goal is to create opportunities for economic participation through growing & preparing food. Our pilot project plans to make money by growing high demand niche crops, particularly for the African community and the direct sale of produce at farmers’ market.
We need YOUR help to get The Mulberry Project produce to market!
We need a bare bones minimum of $5000 for:
- a Trailer to get our produce to market &
- a heavy-duty Market Gazebo
We need to reach our Stretch Goal of $10,000 to fund:
- Uniforms (work-shirts, boots, hats & branded aprons) so we look snappy at the markets plus
- Lighting equipment, cables & battery storage to participate in a weekly Night Market
$20,000 will help us to fund
- Training for our participants in First Aid, Food Hygiene and Workplace Health & Safety plus
- Graphic Design fees for project branding including logo and printed materials
Let's do it!
Sharing our first harvest in January. We need some lights!