WITH the drought and ongoing bushfire threats causing mounting pressure on farmers and food production, a new partnership is bringing some welcome relief to disadvantaged families in NSW.
Greater Sydney Local Land Services launched its expanded Demonstration Farm in Richmond earlier this year attracting multiple industry investments in the form of vegetable trial crops.
Farm manager Peter Conasch said the trials had resulted in thousands of kilos of quality, farm fresh produce being harvested on a regular basis.
"We approached Foodbank NSW and ACT and struck up a deal to donate our produce, which has included broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and a variety of lettuces," he said.
"To date we have donated 6350 kilograms of fresh vegetables straight from the paddocks.
"With the summer harvest starting, we are looking to have donated 10000 kg by the end of the season.
"We grow broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage for our winter harvest, and corn, eggplant, capsicum and zucchini for the summer.
"What really sets us apart is we send the food fresh.
"We pick it on the day it is picked up and sent to Foodbank.
"This initiative is a good opportunity for farmers in the region who may have surplus produce to get on board."
Mr Conasch and his highly experienced farm hand Mario Muscat handle the majority of on farm duties.
Foodbank NSW and ACT chief operating officer John Robinson said fresh produce of high quality was harder to source now more than ever.
"This partnership is hugely significant for us, we're not getting enough fresh vegetables and fruit as a result of the drought," Mr Robinson said.
"Our overarching aim as an organisation is to provide quality food to hungry Australians and the produce provided by Greater Sydney Local Land Services is second to none.
"You can't get fresher."
Mr Conasch said it was rewarding to see the produce going to where it was needed the most.
"Our previous farm relied on tertiary treated water so we were unable to donate it," he said.
"It was heartbreaking seeing the majority of it have to go to waste.
"Now we get the satisfaction of seeing it go to good use, and our investors take pride in that as well."
Foodbank is Australia's largest food relief organisation, operating on a scale that makes it crucial to the work of the front line charities who are feeding vulnerable Australians.
Foodbank provides more than 70 percent of the food rescued for food relief organisations nationwide.