A Taste of Paradise is a farm project located in a beautiful secluded valley near Berry, on the southeast coast of Australia, approximately one hour’s drive south of Wollongong. Tim and Andrea Francis, local couple, established the farm in 1999 as a mentoring and work experience project centred on catering for teenagers between 13 and 20 years of age.
Since then the project has become a deductable gift recipient charity. The farm is run as a mixed organic farm comprising a fruit and nut tree orchard, a range of livestock (beef cattle, goats, horses, free range chickens, turkeys and alpacas), a conservation area, and the beginnings of a timber plantation.
The project exists on a not-for-profit basis, without direct government funding, providing programmes that cater for each young person’s needs, short or long term. A Taste of Paradise Organic Farm Ltd works with a number of organisations given the responsibility of caring for young people.
We engage young people in developing and learning life skills, such as caring for themselves and others.
As they learn to take responsibility for their own actions and experience the rewards born of their own effort, they develop greater personal resilience, while learning practical agricultural skills.
Many of the young people that come to our farm have become disillusioned with life. They harbour a lot of resentment about their circumstances, and justifiably so. They’ve been let down by the people and authorities who are meant to help them. Through interacting with our animals, the natural environment of the farm and through the therapeutic benefit of seeing results from your own work, they begin to find their place in the world and realise that they can create opportunities for themselves and determine their own future.
Tim Francis, Farm Director
Example Programs and Training
Assisted Animal Therapy
AAT has been shown to increase empathy, assist with attachment struggles, promote social skill development, increase self esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy. All the animals at the farm are gentle in nature and the youths have the opportunity to interact and learn to care for the animals. AAT can be run for individuals or as part of a group for up to six participants.
Our experienced mentors will work with youths in a direct one-on-one basis to maximise the impact of the course by tailoring the activities and methods to suit the needs of the individual. These programs focus on agricultural practices and methods, horticulture, animal welfare, sustainability, life skills or a combination of all of the above.
Group VET Training in Horticulture
Group VET Training in Horticulture incorporating some Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Life Skills, as in the “School @ The Farm” Partnership.
Participants can go on to pursue other education such as going back to complete their school certificate or HSC; pursuing an apprenticeship in the agricultural industry or another sector; or seeking other employment.
Why Choose Us?
The Farm has fully adequate, comprehensive insurance and we are happy sharing our Certificate of Currency. Unfortunately some charities do not have the correct level of insurance do undertake everything that they are doing putting people at risk.
The farm was started by locals in order to make a positive impact on those less-fortunate in our community. We work with organisations across the Shoalhaven and Illawarra. Also all of our produce is sold back into the local community.
Our staff are qualified in Horticulture, Farm Management, Small Business Management, Cert 4 in Training and Assessment as well as Mentoring courses including “Working with Challenging Children”.
We work with our partners to create a program that works for the young person or persons in question, be it one-to-one, small groups or even large groups in our training spaces.
A Taste of Paradise continues to provide consistently positive results, with young people achieving above expectation results in courses and going on to gain employment where often thought impossible.