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Volunteer Spotlight – Micky

Interview by Dea

D: Hi Micky, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed today for Volunteer Week. Can you share with us your pronouns, and your volunteer role here at Alfalfa House?

M: No worries! My name is Micky, he/him pronouns, and I mostly do the jobs of receiving stock, filling the shelves and anything else that needs to be done.

D: When did you start volunteering here and what made you want to start?

M: I started almost two years ago, mainly for two reasons. One, I had just moved to the city from the country and I didn’t really have any connections or friends, those hadn’t developed yet, so that was one aspect. Also, I have volunteered since I was about 15, so it’s always been something I’ve done.

D: So, what was your first volunteer role?

M: I volunteered at an aged-care home when I was in high school. I played games with the people there and cooked them food and stuff, it was fun!

D: That’s sweet! It’s really interesting that you said you started volunteering here at Alfalfa House to make connections and friends. When I first came to Sydney, the first place I went to was the co-op and that’s how I found my first share house.

M: It’s really cool how we can share connections like that through the co-op. Everyone here is so lovely, and they all come from different fields and walks of life, which I really enjoy.

D: Yeah, it is a really great place where people can come together, be accepted and give back.

M: It really is. I love the concept of people consciously coming together and making a difference not only to the community but also to the environment. A big factor for me, is how can we help the environment as much as possible? Alfalfa does its best to do that and demonstrates different ways we can sustainably live in society.

D: In what ways do you see Alfalfa House and our volunteers giving back to the Inner-West Community?

M: Alfalfa House is a space where people can come and connect with others. It also has that open, almost ‘home-like’ feel to it that you don’t get when shopping for your groceries elsewhere, and you can just come in and enjoy the community garden out the back too.

D: I’m not sure if a lot of our shoppers know we actually have a community garden out the back you can spend some time in and just chill out. I love starting my volunteer shift spending a few minutes out in the back garden, ‘grounding’ before I get into it.

M: It is so important that a space like Alfalfa House exists. There aren’t many places like it where you’re just completely welcome.

D: Let’s talk about National Volunteer Week and this year’s theme: “Recognise. Reconnect. Re-imagine.” What does this mean to you?

M: With, “Recognise”, I go straight to how Alfalfa House really recognises the different things we can do as human beings to help the environment, and consciously makes that effort. I think it’s so cool that we now have a container so people can sustainably dispose of their old toothpaste tubes and tooth brushes. It’s important to keep recognising the small things and the difference they make.

D: What does “Reconnect” mean to you as a volunteer?

M: Making connections with new and established volunteers. We’ve just met and instantly connected, but we’ve both been volunteering here for some time, just on different shifts!

D: The last part of the theme is “Re-imagine”. What does that mean to you as a volunteer here at Alfalfa House?

M: Mmm, let’s look around. It would be cool if we could paint a rainbow on the floor or wall! That’s my callout to an artist member who wants to volunteer their time and come in and paint us a rainbow here!

D: The world can always do with more rainbows! Now you’re also an employee here. How did your volunteer work lead you to being employed?

M: I was talking to Carina about being dissatisfied with my then paid job, and she told me that we had an opening and that I should apply. I thought this was amazing, I had been a volunteer for a long time and built these great friendships, I didn’t think that could be an option for me. It really shows how important this space is to connect, and what those connections can bring to your life.

D: That is perfect timing, and really does align with this year’s theme. You were able to form a deeper connection with the people here and be employed in a role that you didn’t consider or see as an option before. Your skills and effort were recognised in a way that allowed you to re-imagine your career, while staying true to your values and goals. 

One last question Micky, what would you say to someone considering becoming a volunteer at Alfalfa House?

M: Definitely do it! It’s enjoyable and nice to know your actions will make a real difference, and that’s all we really have control over in our lives. At Alfalfa House, you can make a difference for the community, the environment, and yourself.

D: That was beautiful and powerful to end on. Thanks so much Micky for what you do and taking the time today for this interview.

M: Thank you, it was fun!!

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Myles & Patricia, customer & volunteer duo

Interview by Caroline


"I’ve been shopping at Alfalfa House since I moved to the Inner West five years ago. 

I choose to spend my money here because I strongly believe in co-operative economics, where the aim is to achieve value for members, not dividends to external shareholders, and in minimising negative environmental impacts. 

To me, Alfalfa embodies all the best aspects of being ‘small’. I love that many of the products have a triple benefit of being organically-farmed, supplied directly by known and trusted producers, and are minimally-packaged. 

By bringing my own reusable jars and containers when I shop, I’ve been able to massively reduce the amount of waste that I have to throw in the bin, to the point where many weeks the bin doesn’t have to go out because it’s empty. This is radically different from most for-profit shops, where choosing to buy organic produce means having to accept unnecessary plastic packaging, and half the fruit and veg are out-of-season and from halfway around the world. 

At Alfalfa, there’s no need to compromise on my values. And while some of the produce wouldn’t meet the cosmetic standards of a supermarket giant, it most certainly wins on flavour!'



'It wasn’t long after my partner, Myles, introduced me to Alfalfa that I signed up to become a volunteer, back in January 2020. 

My usual shift is Friday mornings, when we get our biggest produce deliveries, bread, and more recently, vegan croissants. During the shift, I work with our amazing produce manager and another volunteer to quickly prepare the store for opening on what is usually a very busy morning. 

I bag the bread, display the croissants, help organise the deliveries by weighing what needs to be priced, bring produce into the shop, refill what’s missing, break down boxes, and anything else that needs to be done. 

I love being part of the Alfalfa community because it’s a caring community. Before I started volunteering, I was heading home after having a rough day. I entered the shop and asked one of the staff if I could sit and stay there for a while because I needed a minute to centre myself. The loving response and welcoming energy I felt that day was undisputedly honest, warm and caring. I was invited to stay as long as I needed, offered a tea, and felt I was being provided a safe space. 

The Alfalfa community cares about the wellbeing of its members and it is always seeking ways to be more involved in important causes, such as waste reduction, green practices, and offering affordable products.'

Myles & Patricia are dog people. They'd love to adopt a rescue but their landlord won’t allow dogs because of their unfenced yard. One lucky dog will get to join them when they next move.

Cat person or dog person, everyone is welcome at Alfalfa House and we're always on the lookout for volunteers. Join one of our inductions to find out more.