City Farm Finale

(12.30pm, Saturday 23 March 2013, Sydney Park)

Thank you, Andrew [Ridge, MC]. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the last day of this temporary City Farm.

I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

I also welcome members of our City Farm Advisory Group which includes community members, two City of Sydney staff and two representatives from the Powerhouse Museum, and also members of the Sydney City Farm Association.

I want to thank you all for the work you've put into this Summer Garden, and especially to thank the almost 70 volunteers, including some homeless people, who have all made such a fabulous job of it. In a moment, I want to present you with your certificates recognising just what a great job you have done.

The City decided to create a temporary summer farm for the spring and summer months, consisting of a range of farm plantings and some educational programs which we developed with the Powerhouse to run here in Sydney Park.

The farm actually got into operation on January 19, so it ran for just over two months.

In that time, in addition to the healthy range of fresh food grown, there were some terrific workshops which educated people about horticulture, market gardens, and no-dig gardening.

There were also chances to meet a farmer and a beekeeper, a fun demonstration of scarecrow making, and wonderful sheep dog trials which attracted over 300 people.

Altogether these events attracted hundreds more and spread the message of the benefits of City farming.

We know there is keen support for the idea - 95 per cent of the people who made submissions during our feasibility study said they wanted a city farm.

By 2030, we're expecting almost 37,500 new homes and an extra 75,000 people living in inner Sydney and we are committed to giving them the opportunity to grow fresh food and a sustainable life-style.

The farm will be the hub of a unique place where families can gather, exercise, walk their dogs, grow their own food and make new friends.

Our next step is to develop a business plan, setting strategic directions for the farm. This should be finalised by mid-year. And then, in consultation with you, we will begin work on a Master Plan to determine the final site and form of our City Farm.

So thank you all once again for the work you've put in. You've shown us that a City Farm is a viable - and even necessary - part of a 21st century city community. And you've also shown what a terrific part it can play in forging strong community bonds.

It has been a brilliantly successful experiment - so thank you all.