Grass Roots: helping communities grow their own food

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On Nightlife with Indira Naidoo

Around the world starvation is still a major threat in many countries where climate, war and politics can all affect the food supply.

Kelly McJannett is the Chief Executive of Food Ladder which uses cutting edge food technology to help communities around the world grow the food to help them thrive, and she told Indira Naidoo all about it on Grass Roots.

Duration: 20min 7sec
Broadcast: Sun 13 Sep 2020, 10:00pm

Food Ladder provides custom-designed hydroponic greenhouses and specialised training to empower communities to grow their own food, improve their nutrition and establish their own social enterprise.

With the ability to be implemented virtually anywhere in the world, Food Ladder creates an environment in which food production is enhanced; from the isolated hinterlands of Bhutan to the most remote parts of the Northern Territory, Australia.

As a not-for-profit organisation, we do not own any assets, rather each Food Ladder system is owned, governed and run by

the local community – with full support and guidance from the Food Ladder team. To ensure strong community collaboration we work with on-ground partners including government departments, Australia’s preeminent universities and remote community leaders.

Food Ladder systems not only address food security, but create employment and training opportunities for adults, and education outcomes for children. Benefits also include an increased sense of community pride and achievement, as well as a shift in attitudes around healthy eating.

Why we do it

One in nine people already goes hungry and the UN predicts there will be 2.3 billion more mouths to feed by 2050.

Climate change and population growth are putting the globe’s citizens in a fragile and tenuous situation, and unfortunately, the effects are most pronounced among the poor and disadvantaged. Those communities who previously relied on traditional farming practices are rendered powerless to the unpredictable and varying weather conditions. Meanwhile, traditional methods of food aid have done little to address malnutrition, an affliction which can only be truly remedied with locally grown fruit and vegetables.

Australia is not immune to this problem, with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities being unable to access nutritious foods, due to the availability and affordability of produce. In 2012-13, 31% of Indigenous Australians in remote areas reported running out of food over the previous 12 months, compared to 4% of non-Indigenous Australians.

Food Ladder is our response to the crisis.

With a legacy of over 10 years in social enterprise development each Food Ladder system is able to supplement the diets of up to 250 people with locally grown, fresh produce. As the world grapples with population growth and the burgeoning effects of climate change, Food Ladder has created a proven and highly replicable solution to the pressing challenge of food security.

True to its mandate of developing local economies, since its inception, Food Ladder has consistently assisted communities around the world in establishing successful social enterprises.

  • Food Ladder systems are five times more productive than traditional farming methods when operating at full capacity.
  • Each Food Ladder system is designed to address the specific climate and food requirements of each individual community.
  • Food Ladder projects address health, education and economic development outcomes through a multi-disciplinary approach in partnership with the local community. Programs include vocational training, STEM education and nutrition workshops.


Support Food Ladder

To make a tax deductible contribution, please make a donation below. To receive a receipt email us at info@foodladder.org.

National Australia Bank
Name: Food Ladder
BSB: 082 057
Account: 829 322 925

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Get in contact

For media enquires email info@foodladder.org with MEDIA REQUEST in the subject line.

If you think your organisation would be a great recipient of a Food Ladder system email info@foodladder.org with PARTNERSHIP in the subject line. Tell us about your organisation and how Food Ladder could be a game changer for your community.

If you would like to volunteer send your resume to info@foodladder.org with VOLUNTEER in the subject line. Also include a cover letter outlining which post (Australia, India or Uganda) you would like to support and how your skills could enhance our work.

All general enquiries can be directed to info@foodladder.org, in the form provided or via post: PO Box 423, Manly NSW 1655.