Local regenerative farm continues to break new ground

September 8, 2021 BY

The Common Ground is one of 70 social enterprises to have received funding from the Growth Grants program. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Common Ground Project will receive more than $100,000 from a national grants program to help scale its impact, as they try to raise capital to expand their farm operations for locals that need it most, particularly asylum seekers.

Common Ground successfully applied to receive $120,000 with the help of Impact Investing Australia’s Investment Ready Growth Grant Program, funded by the Australian Government’s Sector Readiness Fund.

The Growth Grants help social enterprises prepare for the investment required to grow their businesses by paying for intermediary services, such as business, financial, and legal advice.

The funds received by Common Ground will help both short-term and long-term goals according to CEO Nathan Toleman.

“This project endeavours to empower a sustained sense of social, physical and economic wellbeing in participants, to an extent that can help support each individual in navigating the ongoing impacts of COVID-19,” Mr Toleman said.

“We hope to encourage participants to understand and maintain the foundations of a healthy diet, by equipping them to grow their own vegetables and providing ongoing access to our community garden.”

Immediate outputs of the program will go towards food relief, while long-term aims will be to benefit things like building ongoing social connection and independent, dignified access to healthy food and creating a hub of enterprises operating on the farm to benefit the local community and visitors to the region.

Another facet of the farm’s new program will be creating more financial independence for individuals who are disproportionately affected by barriers to employment.

“As a regenerative agriculture farm, we hope to improve soil quality of the farm and activate biodiversity with natural pollination methods, as well as developing a healthy awareness for personal nutrition and a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing,” Mr Toleman said.

Other high-growth (for-profit or non-profit) enterprises like the Common Ground may be eligible for a Growth Grant if they are delivering positive social outcomes and looking to scale their business and their impact.

Since the Growth program was launched in 2015, it has distributed $6.8 million in funding to more than 70 Australian social enterprises, which has returned over $143 million.

“Our Growth Grants program recognises the potential for impact investing to change the way Australia addresses social issues and the important role access to capital can play in delivering better outcomes for people and communities,” acting Impact Investing Australia CEO Sabina Curatolo said.

Grant applications are by invitation only after an enterprise submits a successful Expression of Interest.

To find out more visit: impactinvestingaustralia.com.

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