Northey Street City Farm

  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm Chicken
  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm City Farm Nursery
  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm Gardening Activity
  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm Market Garden
  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm Rosella
  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm Vegetable Garden
  • Northey Street City Farm
    Northey Street City Farm Winter Solstice
Introduction

Northey Street City Farm (NSCF) is a non-profit community organisation situated on the banks of Brisbane’s Breakfast Creek in the inner-city suburb of Windsor. It was founded in 1994, by a group of local residents who wanted space to grow their own food while educating and encouraging others in local food production. From a bare site, it has transformed to an inner-city green oasis, welcoming thousands of visitors every year. The activities of NSCF are orientated around three major values; Caring for Earth, Caring for People, and Learning. Caring for Earth is promoted through generating local food production, restoring native vegetation, green waste recycling, and encouraging organic practices. Caring for People is promoted through gathering a vibrant community of volunteers to engage in hands-on work at the Farm, and providing shared lunches for all volunteers to interact and get to know their community. Learning is promoted through providing workshops on cooking, permaculture and sustainability. City Farm Nursery provides a range of organic plants, chemical free products and advice to promote fresh food production in the local community. Farm residents believe that by practicing their activities around these values, they can create an environmentally, socially and economically just world.

Description of project

NSCF leases its site from Brisbane City Council (BCC) and as part of the leasing process, the team is required to submit a maintenance and development plan every three years for renewal. NSCF also has a Contaminated Land Soil Management Plan agreed with the BCC, and any on-site developments require pre-approval. More than 1,500 exotic and native fruit trees, bush food plants, shrubs and ground covers have been planted on the four-hectare farm site since its inception. 

There is an internal design group that oversees the site design to ensure that permaculture design principles and practices are followed. In addition to permaculture design principles, the site also meets the following Healthy Active by Design (HabD) design features:

  • Movement Networks - Major cycling routes pass the site and it is close to public transport. There are clear pathways through NSCF which enables safe and convenient access for the thousands of visitors to the site each year.
  • Public open space, Healthy Food and Sense of Place - Volunteers and allotment holders have opportunities to engage in physical activity while working in the vegetable gardens and orchards on site. In addition, community members can participate in a composting hub and attend the weekly Farmers Market, which helps to improve community connections and the access to, and availability of fresh and healthy food.
  • The site has security lighting, clear routes, and cameras to ensure that users are safe at all times. 

The project is ongoing so NSCF undertake regular strategic and operational planning, which are evaluated annually, to ensure organisational goals and objectives are achieved. 

 
Project team
  • NSCF
  • Farm and Site team
  • Enterprise and Events Team
  • Education and Support Team
Project cost

The City Farm has been supported over the years by many grants including those from Brisbane City Council and the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

Health value
  • City Farm Nursery provides a range of organic plants, chemical free products and advice to promote fresh food production in the local community.  Furthermore, the weekly Organic Farmers Market includes a variety of stallholders where customers can purchase ingredients to make balanced and healthy meals.
  • The workshops and short courses empower participants with the information and means to make nutritious food choices.
  • Other benefits of the community garden include improved physical and mental well-being through incidental physical activity, social interaction, and contact with nature in a calm, productive environment.
Economic value
  • The presence of NSCF has increased visitation to the inner-Brisbane suburb and encouraged community investment to improve the market value of the area. Furthermore, NSCF supports local produce through the weekly Farmers Market and puts money back into local food production. 
  • NSCF encourages the employment of voluntary labour which ensures the operation maintains a low running cost. NSCF also contributes to local employment through the hiring of permanent staff, and trains local residents to build the area’s economic value.
 
Environmental value
  • NSCF promotes environmentally friendly initiatives such as organic farming practices (no artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides), water-conservation practices, and green waste recycling through compost production and worm farms. 
  • The workshops and classes provided by NSCF include demonstration plantings of useful native plants, which encourages the regeneration of native vegetation and wildlife by providing habitat. 
  • The fresh and local produce at the weekly markets educate individuals and families about the environment, and how the seasons can influence the availability of fresh vegetables, fruit and meats.
  • The NSCF provides an excellent example of a community organisation that operates and promotes living and consuming in a sustainable manner.
 
Social value
  • As a community-driven project, NSCF offers strong social value. The garden plot, weekly markets and gardening workshops provide opportunities for residents, workers and visitors to socialise, learn and build community connections. In addition, community events and festivals are held at NSCF which assist with creating a sense of place. 
Use value
  • Since its inception, NSCF has acted as a community hub and meeting place, and provides value in its variety of uses. The facility provides a venue to sell local produce, provides access and facilities to engage in healthy practices and provides a setting to address a community concern of unsustainable living.
  • NSCF is also a valuable asset for community members who can register as members and volunteers, and can also become allotment holders to participate in ongoing projects.