Council votes for a Sydney City Farm

IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME coming, but it's now on the horizon. The proposal for a Sydney City Farm was accepted by last Monday's full meeting of the City of Sydney Council after being approved by the City's Environment and Heritage Committee a week ago.

According to the Sydney City Farm Association, the community organisation that lobbied successfully for the city farm, the original proposal for a city farm in Sydney Park can be traced back to the 1980s. In the early 1990s there was another proposal, also for a Sydney City Farm at Sydney Park, led by permaculture educator and designer, Bronwyn Rice. South Sydney City Council, which then controlled the area before being absorbed into the City of Sydney, declined that proposal. In more recent years the Sydney City Farm Association lobbied for a city farm for the Callan Park lands in Rozelle, however when they approached the City of Sydney, the City commissioned Clouston Associates to produce a feasibility study.

The Study included community consultation and resulted in the Sydney City Farm Feasibility Study that the City put out for public consultation early in 2011. Over 90 percent of responses were positive, opening the way for the city farm proposal to go to this week's full meeting of council.

In anticipation of council approval, the Association last Sunday held a picnic in Sydney Park. Below is the media release from the City of Sydney announcing the passage of the proposal for a sydney City Farm...

Sydney City Farm supporters gather behind their chook mandala at November's Sydney City Farm picnic in Sydney Park.

Farm fresh food in the heart of Sydney

8 November 2011

Sydneysiders are set for a taste of life on the farm, where children can pick fresh vegetables for dinner and collect eggs as chickens run around their feet.

Council last night supported a Sydney City Farm operating in two sites: Sydney Park in St Peters, and the disused Powerhouse Museum car park in Ultimo.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said there is a real need and strong community support for a city farm to provide fresh produce and fresh food lessons in the heart of Sydney.

"Sydney is one of the few Australian cities without a city farm, yet there's a staggering amount of community support for one - 95 per cent of people who made submissions during our feasibility study approve of the plans," the Lord Mayor said.

"City farms are great places for growing fresh fruit and vegetables, keeping small animals and holding farmers' markets - and with hands-on lessons, they help children learn where food comes from."

If endorsed by Council, a detailed business plan will be developed for the two City Farm sites.

The Lord Mayor said the Sydney Park farm site would use a small area of the park, without affecting the areas people use for jogging, picnics, riding bikes and walking dogs.

"The combined city farm model offers the best of both worlds. We could see a new city farm sustainability centre in the heart of Sydney with unique access to educational programs, in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum. This would complement flourishing fruit and vegetables, orchards and small farm animals in an innovative farm space at Sydney Park less than five kilometres down the road."

"By 2030, we're expecting more than 139,000 new homes and an extra 80,000 people living in inner Sydney and our villages. This proposal would help turn a small section of Sydney Park into a unique new place where families can gather, exercise, walk their dogs, socialise, grow their own food and meet new friends."

"City of Sydney Council continues to demonstrate visionary leadership and a city farm will help showcase its Sustainable Sydney 2030 goals.  We love the plan to spread the farm across two busy sites where large numbers of people will be able to enjoy the city farm experience," said Sydney City Farm President, Andrew Jackson.

"The beauty of this idea is its universal appeal.  Everyone we speak to loves the idea of a city farm in Sydney, whether it's the celebration of healthy food and an active lively community or the positive environmental message that we can all make a difference."

The Sydney City Farm community group has more than 1500 active supporters eager to have hands-on involvement in an urban farm and environmental education centre.

"We look forward to working with Council and Powerhouse Museum to move through the planning phase and get the farm sites developed as soon as possible," Mr Jackson said.

Sydney Park is a 44-hectare City-owned park in Sydney's inner west, known for its historic brick kilns which were in operation from 1948 to 1976. It has a proposed water harvesting system that will capture 840 million litres of stormwater a year for reuse in the park and throughout the city.

The Powerhouse Museum's disused car park in Ultimo is centrally located, close to Darling Harbour, Central Station and surrounding universities.

For more information about Sydney City Farm: www.sydneycityfarm.org

Media contacts

Lord Mayor contact: Matt Levinson 0427 044 768 mlevinson@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

CoS media: Leanne Lincoln 9265 9617 or llincoln@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

The city farmer's chook mandala, a construction of mulch and fruit.

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