Across many cities all over the world, urban farms are gaining popularity. Australia is no exception to this environmentally friendly and sustainable movement. City farms are developing in populated areas, creating a shift in Australia from rural to urban agriculture.
By definition, urban agriculture or city farming is the practice of cultivating, producing and distributing food in a city or populated area. It’s a socially responsible method of connecting a community to the environment and creating an awareness of their impacts on each other.
So where can you find your local city farm?
To save you doing the dirty work, we’ve done some digging around.
The Sydney City Farm is a relatively young establishment, but is a force within the community, covering 26 square kilometres. As part of an initiative to make Sydney sustainable by 2030, this city farm provides amenities for over 200,000 residents along with 20,000 businesses. Some of their notable services include their branch of libraries, street cleansing, road maintenance, collecting and recycling waste, and maintain parks, gardens, community centres, and playgrounds. The Pocket City Farms also help produce locally grown food and educate the surrounding community about urban agriculture.
With a steady rise in population also comes an increase in local community gardens. Melbourne is home to numerous initiatives and programs that encourage the communities to connect with the earth. With some gardens located near or in public housing areas, residents can grow their own food, while sharing their different culture and languages. Thousands of people all over Melbourne are involved with running and maintaining city farms while educating new members to join.
CERES – Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, is an award winning, not-for-profit, sustainability centre. With extensive environmental education programs, urban agriculture projects, green technology demonstrations and a number of social enterprises including a market, grocery, café, community kitchen, organic online supermarket and a permaculture and bushfood nursery, a visit to CERES is a must.
In Adelaide, small urban farms are promoting stronger communities and entrepreneurial opportunities. Wagtail is a micro-urban farm that produces fresh herbs, vegetables, and even edible flowers. They began selling their wares locally at the market, but have expanded to provide the city with garden-fresh food. Unlike most city farms, Wagtail is private land purchased by the founders. They still maintain the same goals as a community farm by providing food education to the community and the opportunity for those to get involved with growing.
Perth City Farm works to connect the community by forging relationships between people and the environment, and amongst one another. Their weekly farmer’s market shows off the fresh and organic produce grown on location. Founded in 1994, their Men of Trees initiative is located in a former and battery-recycling centre and scrap metal yard. What was once a highly polluted area is now the location of a flourishing community garden, that promotes community engagement and social responsibility.
The Northey Street City Farm is located 5 minutes from the city centre on the banks of Breakfast Creek. It was founded in 1994 by a group of local residents who wanted space to grow their own food while educating others in how to do it. The farm offers an extensive range of education programs including a beginner’s beekeeping, micro gardening and cheese making. And if you are keen to take home some of their organic produce, head on down to their weekly farmers market.
Brisbane’s City Council hosts a network of sustainable groups and initiatives, working for a greener environment and bettered community. Their scattered city gardens allow residents access to fresh and healthy produce while creating tighter social relations. Events are frequently held to increase awareness of environmental responsibly and to encourage an increased community involvement.
Located in the heart of Hobart, this city farm provides quality produce to the surrounding community. The Hobart City Farm offers opportunities for meaningful employment and community participation. They are passionate about creating secure, local food systems to give residents access to high-quality food and educate them about food production.
The Urban Agriculture Australia is an initiative created by Canberra City Farm to educate the surrounding community about urban agriculture’s potential and sustainable living. This program provides the community access to safe and healthy food, especially in areas with reduced access to these necessities. Through growing these farms, people reap the health benefits of organic produce and attain knowledge to live environmentally friendly. Not only do the urban farms support the local food economy, but they also bring communities together through workshops and events.