While city living has its perks – fantastic restaurants, thrilling theatre and humming nightlife – all those high rises and packed pavements can leave you longing for wide open spaces and grass beneath your feet. Luckily, there’s an all-natural remedy to city-slicker-sickness right here in Sydney: the humble urban farm.
These plots of land give concrete-bound Sydneysiders a taste of the countryside, without having to commit to a green-change. You can volunteer as a farm hand, get to know adorable barnyard flocks, learn a little about Indigenous agriculture and inner city growing, and even taste the Sydney-grown produce at farmers’ markets and on site eateries. So dig out your gumboots, whack on a straw hat and spend a day in the city's finest fields.
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Experience farm life in Sydney
Christian Hampson and Clarence Slockee have taken over the rooftop of a brand-new building in Eveleigh to transform it into a 500m2 planting box housing finger limes, warrigal greens, saltbush, rivermint, native raspberries and sea figs. They’re the founders of Sydney’s first native plant rooftop farm, which started out in April 2019 with 2,000 plants and over 30 species.
Yerrabingin means ‘we walk together’ in Muktung, from Hampson’s grandparents’ language. “It’s about the time when the first people and the first spirits walked the earth and they were taught about how to look after the land. It’s about knowledge transferring, and about collaborating.”
The crops at Sydney City Farm have only seen one full turn of the seasons, but they’re already thriving thanks to the steady support of volunteers. Green thumbs and aspiring inner city gardeners regularly give their time to planting, weeding and watering at this urban farm, which sits on a sunny hillside of Sydney Park in St Peters.
When you’re not busy on the farm, you can attend regular talks and workshops held on the plot and nearby locations, where gardeners can dig deeper into sustainability, agriculture and backyard growing. And keep your eyes out for a new Sydney Park farmers' market, which the urban farm will feed with its organically grown produce.
Pocket City Farms is a not-for-profit, turning disused spaces into sustainable farms in the middle of the city. They dug their first Sydney plot at a former bowling green, and now host working bees, workshops, and a weekly market. They’ve got chooks on site too, which is fun for kids and handy for composting.
And all that fertile soil is great for produce that makes its way to the on-site restaurant, Acre. But before you enjoy a fabulous farm-to-table meal, feed your soul at the morning drop-in yoga classes that run every weekend.
It's a slightly surreal experience to take a right turn on a suburban street and suddenly find yourself on a working farm. Calmsley Hill City Farm offers families hands-on access to cute farm animals – feed bags are $2 each. The whole experience gives you insight into farm life, with demonstrations in shearing sheep, using a stockwhip and milking cows.
There's also a large kangaroo pen where you can mingle freely with the inhabitants, plus places to meet native birds and poultry, snakes and lizards, and opportunities to ride on a tractor too.