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Category — Australia

Australia: Rooftops offer a viable and sustainable space for growing edible produce

Dr Sara Wilkinson tends a tomato crop on a rooftop above Broadway at UTS. Photo: Peter Morris.

She is developing a template for a rooftop farming licence agreement that will set out the terms, roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in rooftop food production.

By Robin Powell
Sydney Morning Herald
February 17, 2015


The UTS study compared three types of gardens on the roof of three campus buildings. Vegetables and herbs were grown in a raised bed, a vertical garden and a wicking bed. (A wicking bed waters plants from below through a capillary action that draws water from a reservoir in the base of the container. The soil is separated from the water by a layer of geotextile fabric, and the plant roots take up moisture as needed. The reservoir means that watering – the most labour-intensive aspect of container-gardening – is reduced from every second day to about once a week.)

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February 19, 2015   Comments Off

Exploring The Potential For Urban Food Production On Sydney’s Rooftops.


A little explored environmental gain in Sydney is the retrofit of roofs for urban food production.

By Associate Professor Sara J Wilkinson & Lindsay Page
Faculty of Design Architecture and Built Environment, UTS, Australia


There are environmental, economic and social benefits of retrofitting rooftops on city buildings for food production. Environmental benefits include lower carbon food miles, potential reductions in building related operational carbon emissions, reductions in the urban heat island, increases in bio-diversity and reductions in storm-water run-off. Economically, the benefits are reduced roof maintenance costs, lower running costs and direct access to fresh food. Thirdly the social or community gains are the creation of spaces where people can engage in growing food. Psychological and therapeutic gains accrue when people engage with natural environments. However there are barriers which include perceptions of greater risk of building leaks, high costs of installation and maintenance, and access and security issues.

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February 19, 2015   Comments Off

Hobbiton Movie Set – Hobbit Green Roofs in New Zealand

A total of 37 smials, or Hobbit holes, nestled within the bucolic countryside

Dec 29, 2014

The vivid descriptions of the peaceful, merry, and diminutive Hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books have been brought to life through the magic of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson. Situated within the picturesque 1,250 acre Alexander sheep farm on New Zealand’s North Island, the 12-acre Hobbiton™ Movie Set represents Tolkien’s vision of the idyllic Middle-earth village of the Shire.

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January 2, 2015   Comments Off

Australia: Urban fringe agriculture under threat

Ben And Mark Honey Are Facing Urban Encroachment Near Their Dairy Farm In Kiama, Nsw (Sarina Locke)

Agricultural land on the fringes of our major cities is some of the most productive in the country, but urban encroachment is putting it at risk

Producer Cathy Pryor
Nov 26, 2014


Wayne Shields’ farm has been in his family since the 1970s, when his father first bought the fertile patch of land on the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s east. In those days, the Peninsula was a quiet rural retreat from city life, frequented by holiday makers making a pilgrimage to the coast.

Forty years later, 30 per cent of the Mornington Peninsula is classified as urban and the boundary of metropolitan Melbourne is only 500 metres from the Shields farm.

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November 27, 2014   Comments Off

“Urban farms key to hunger” says keynote speaker at 29th International Horticultural Congress

Julian Cribb, the former CSIRO scientist and author of the books, Poisoned Planet and The Coming Famine, shared his thoughts at the 29th International Horticultural Congress (IHC) in Brisbane.

4000 delegates from more than 100 countries, the largest horticulture gathering in Australia this year, heard the message

By Ashley Walmsley
The Land
19 Aug, 2014


“The city itself is poised to change. Green cities alive with vegetation, fresh food, birds and insects will replace the polluted, soulless, concrete and glass urbanscapes of today,” he said.

Giant floating greenhouses and translucent vertical urban farms were just two ideas touted by Mr Cribb. He said by 2050, urban horticulture and farming could provide half the world’s food.

“They will ensure a highly diverse, local food supply that never fails,” Mr Cribb said.

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August 19, 2014   Comments Off

A city girl’s guide to marrying a farmer


“Money can be the cause of a lot of problems in any kind of marriage, but in farming the money comes in fairly infrequently.”

By Lucie Bell
ABC Rural
July 21, 2014


In Everything A Woman Needs To Know Before She Marries A Farmer, Joyce has compiled an A to Z collection of advice on topics which may be unfamiliar to women coming from a city background.

“It’s not like marrying a plumber, or a carpenter or a lawyer in the city, it comes with baggage.

“I thought there were a lot of pitfalls that women like me can find out about later, that can cause a lot of tears and can actually put a stress on the relationship.

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July 29, 2014   Comments Off

Asbestos discovery at Northey Street City Farm, Brisbane, Australia

Genevieve Wills Nursery co-ordinator at Northey street city farm mulching the garden bed.

Brisbane City Council has closed the Northey Street City Farm ahead of its huge Winter Solstice celebrations on Saturday after finding asbestos.

The Australian News
June 20, 2014


Mr Copeman said without prior notice, council shut down 3.5 acres of the site with fencing after the discovery of demolition waste, including asbestos and possibly heavy metals.

The discovery was made during a BCC inspection related to an approved development of a picnic shed on the site; Mr Copeman said NSCF was cooperating with BCC in the investigation and management of the demolition waste.

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June 30, 2014   Comments Off

Urban fringe agriculture under threat in Australia

Ben and mark honey are facing urban encroachment near their dairy farm in kiama, nsw. Photo by Sarina Locke.

Experts believe now is the time to ‘draw the line’ and put in place permanent city boundaries to protect farms that could become increasingly important as climate change takes hold.

by Cathy Pryor
June 6, 2014


Wayne Shields’s farm has been in his family since the 1970s when his father first bought the fertile patch of land on the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s east. In those days the Peninsula was a quiet rural retreat from city life, frequented by holiday makers on a pilgrimage to the coast.

Forty years later, thirty per cent of the Mornington Peninsula is classified as urban and the boundary to metropolitan Melbourne is only 500 metres from the Shields’s farm. While the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is working hard to protect the agriculture it still has, the Shields’s organic farm now co-exists with its suburban neighbours.

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June 13, 2014   Comments Off

Paddock-to-plate farm-based Tasmanian cooking school

The Agrarian Kitchen is situated in a 19th century schoolhouse at Lachlan, 45 minutes from Hobart in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, Australia.

The Agrarian Kitchen grows and uses heirloom varieties of fruit, vegetables and rare breed animals in its cooking classes

Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet

Excerpt from web site:

The Agrarian Kitchen’s growing areas have been hewn from grazing paddock, securely fenced and tirelessly tilled to create a 500 square metre vegetable garden, an extensive berry patch and orchard.

The vegetable garden was first tilled by our own Wessex saddleback pigs to remove stubborn perennial weeds before being formed into beds. Paths are constructed of mulched tree trimmings from the property and lined with stones from our front paddock. The garden has been designed by local gardener and journalist, Paul Healy. The garden is now tended by our Gardening Team, Lee Farrell, Jethro Havenhand, Fin Fagan and Rodney Dunn using organic principles without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers. The garden is predominately planted with heirloom varieties and we are always on the look out for the old and interesting and are constantly experimenting with varieties, saving our own seeds where possible of the varieties that perform the best in our conditions, for example, at last count there have been over two hundred varieties of tomato.

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March 26, 2014   Comments Off

Melbourne Australia’s Community Hop Ale

Beer rep Steven Germain with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan.

The Circle Of Hops

Crafty Pint


One half of Make Beer is beer rep Steven Germain (above right with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan). At his home, he has 12 hop plants that he will be harvesting this weekend. His intention was always to create a fresh hop beer with them and, in part inspired by the fact he may not have enough flowers to do a 100 litre batch justice and also by a desire to launch a community project, he decided it would be even more fun if said beer featured hops grown by other people in their respective backyards.

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March 12, 2014   Comments Off

A Brisbane, Australia primary school has a kitchen garden

A Brisbane primary school is achieving improved learning outcomes, after turning classrooms into a kitchen and creating an extensive vegetable garden.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden at Ashgrove State School

The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden (SAKG) program is a dynamic curriculum program for children in year 3 to year 7. The program instills in children the values of growing their own produce and utilising this produce to cook healthy delicious meals. Children learn many valuable life skills through their participation in the program.

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March 11, 2014   Comments Off

Costa Georgiadis, of TV’s Gardening Australia, says community gardens no threat

Costa at a local food event in Coffs Harbour. Photo by Kim Honan.

Costa says that if industry bodies see this movement as a threat, then they’re taking a backward step.

By Kim Honan And Fiona Wyllie
Abc Rural
Mon 3 Mar 2014


“Community gardens are about growing awareness and getting people inspired in local seasonal food,” he said.

“To think that spending money on an initiative like that that brings people closer to their food, and develops food as a health initiative, how could you think that a $1 million spent on growing community.

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March 10, 2014   Comments Off

Australia’s vegetable industry believes community gardens pose a biosecurity risk

Volunteers working in The Tucker Patch at Gloucester, NSW. The demonstration garden, run by not-for-profit group The Gloucester Project, is trialling small and large scale crops. Produce is sold weekly at the farm gate shop and monthly at the local farmers’ market.

The criticism comes on the back of the Federal Government scrapping the $1.5 million Community Food Grants program, created by the former Labor government under the National Food Plan.

By Kim Honan
Abc Rural
28 Feb 2014


Ausveg’s William Churchill says his industry has welcomed that decision, and says the money could have been better spent developing export markets for growers.

“A lot of these gardens may not be in the best nick, so to speak, and the issue we then have is with infestations with either pests or diseases, and then that becomes a threat in itself to commercial horticultural operations that need to comply with strict adherence to quality assurance guidelines,” he said.

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March 10, 2014   Comments Off

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens created The Tasmanian Community Food Garden


Mission: To develop a model Community Food Garden demonstrating best practice in sustainable food production and preparation, supported by a community of Food Gardens and food gardeners

The Tasmanian Community Food Garden is part of the ongoing redevelopment of the area formally known as Pete’s Patch. The garden it’s self will consist of 20+ small gardens, an education centre and training facilities. The aim is to engage community groups from schools, migrant, older Tasmanians, Salvation Army, SecondBite etc to take ownership of the planting and maintenance of a veggie patch within the greater garden. It’s like a large group of community gardens in one location that will be facilitated by the RTBG in maintaining and growing this resource.

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February 25, 2014   Comments Off

Plans for vertical farms on unit blocks take off in Australia

French architect Vincent Callebaut poses in front of a picture of one of his futuristic projects – The Dragonfly – on “the city of tomorrow”. Photo: Bertrand Guay.

NSW government architect Chris Johnson thinks the idea would work in Australia

By Toby Johnstone
Sydney Morning Herald
January 28, 2014


When Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut put forward an “urban farm” concept for a twin-tower development in New York, called Dragonfly, in 2009, he was laughed at.

But industry experts in Sydney say the idea may catch on.

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February 6, 2014   Comments Off