After receiving a grant from the Willunga Farmers Market, Village Greens of Willunga Creek have managed to pull of the ultimate trade – using the $10,000 cash and backbreaking hard to work to claim a bumper crop of vegetables.
After making several unsuccessful applications for the Willunga Farmers Market Young Farmers Scholarship In August of 2017, Village Greens of Willunga Creek owners Lucy O’Connell and Nathaniel Wiseman pushed on and kept doing their own were the first recipients of the Willunga Farmers Market 'Farming Development Grant'.
Lucy O’Connell said Village Greens grow a wide variety of vegetables both in the field and the greenhouse – by growing a selection of vegetables it enables people to purchase the majority of their weekly seasonal vegetables and added that their tomatoes were one of their most popular products.
“Our tomatoes, are very popular as they are how tomatoes should taste when you work within the season. They are full of flavour, sweetness and we offer a wide variety of both heirloom and hybrid types,” she said.
“We love being able to supplying to locals as they are our community. We know them and they know us and over time you build up a really lovely relationship with them.
Lucy added that their produce is of better quality than supermarkets due to their freshness, most of Village Green’s crops they are picked the day of delivery or the day before market which ensures they are fresh and allows them to last longer in the fridge and have higher nutritional value.
General Manager of the Willunga Farmers Market said the $10,000 cash grant plus $2000 in mentorship and training has allowed Village Greens to learn advanced greenhouse growing techniques and work towards filling the clear market gap in local organically produced long-season tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums.
“Their passion and commitment to farming on the Fleurieu was valued by us and we want to see agriculture in Australia revitalised as a livelihood where young people can lead fulfilling lives connected to the land and to community.”
With the grant money, Villa Greens has been able to build a new warehouse and expand their production.
“The greenhouse allows us to grow a huge quantity of tomatoes and cucumbers, giving them protection from the elements and allowing us to extend our summer growing season” Lucy said.