Last week the Pathfinders Pumpkin Run Team, consisting of staff and young people, headed to Tilbuster Station for our initial seed planting day. As a team they spend the morning on the farm learning about the processes and the groundwork that had been done in preparation to assist the team with planting the different varieties of pumpkin seeds for our 2022 Pumpkin Run.
Pathfinders currently have a number of volunteers and a student enrolled in an Agriculture traineeship working at Tilbuster. These young people are excited to be involved in the Pumpkin Run and have taken lead roles in the preparations of the soil for our seed planting day. The new skills our students have been leaning are being utilised and now passed on to our staff and other young people who are also keen to be involved and learn along the way.
The start of the Pumpkin Run journey has always been an exciting time for our young people and staff. Everyone that comes along wants to be involved because they want to contribute and make a difference in the lives of our at-risk youth and other disadvantaged members of our community.
Food insecurity is steadily increasing in Australia and as a nation we have faced a number of challenging events within the past few years including drought, bushfires, floods and COVID – 19. These major events have impacted the number of Australia needing food relief. The most recent Australian Health Survey indicates that one million people, or 3.8% of our population, are experiencing food insecurity. This increases to 22% for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
As we have seen over the past few years hunger and the need for food relief is an issue faced, not only by those who are homeless, but also by individuals and families of low income.
This year the team have planted over 6,000 seeds and three different varieties of pumpkins including Queensland Blue, Japanese and Butternut pumpkins. The team is hoping to be able to produce 10 tonnes of pumpkins which they will deliver across the state next year starting at Armidale in Country NSW. They will then work their way down to Sydney donating to those in need along the way.