In a first for Victoria, a massive part of a former rooftop car park has completely transformed into a thriving green space. Works will continue over the next 12 months to complete this urban oasis. When it is complete, Melbourne Skyfarm will be open to the public, with farm tours, a herb garden, sustainable café, nursery, educational spaces and more. This environmental space overlooks the Yarra River, towards the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and is expected to open in 2022.
What is Melbourne Skyfarm?
Melbourne Skyfarm will breathe new life into a former concrete car park, and transform it into a thriving rooftop paradise. The urban greening and urban farming areas are now complete, and will help push our city towards a more sustainable future. Instead of a concrete jungle, this rooftop farm demonstrates how we can cover our grey spaces with living systems, which will help cool our microclimates in the event of rising heatwaves. It will also absorb rainwater runoff, improve downstream water quality, host beneficial biodiversity, generate fresh produce and improve the liveability of our city. Overall, this farm will help transform the city into a food secure and climate adapted space.
“Melbourne Skyfarm aims to be a wonderful platform to showcase what is possible for sustainable cities embracing the future, showcasing Australian designed and manufactured urban farming systems to demonstrate the huge food growing potential that exists in cities if we harness good design, urban farming innovation and circular economy principles,” said Brendan Condon, Melbourne Skyfarm Director.
How will it work?
A group of Melbourne-based sustainability companies have joined forces to make this rooftop dream possible, including Biofilta, The Sustainable Landscape Company and Odonata. These groups have all delivered large-scale projects over the past 20 years, including nature restoration and harvesting.
After seven years of research, and $1 million in investment, urban farming company Biofilta created Foodcube. This breakthrough in urban farming is an advanced self-watering wicking bed farming module, and can be rapidly installed on any city surface, including rooftops, courtyards and car parks.
Foodcube is made from 80 per cent recycled food grade plastic, and can generate food within weeks of being installed. Skyfarm is expected to grow over five tonnes of fresh produce each year, most of which will be donated to food charity OzHarvest. The food will also be incorporated into the menu of the upcoming Melbourne Skyfarm Café.
The farm will also include a rooftop orchard, composting, a nursery and a range of initiatives to attract beneficial insects.
An initial $300,000 grant from the City of Melbourne Urban Forest Fund also helped make this transformation possible.
“It has never been more important for us to invest in sustainable greening projects which engage our community, show innovative thinking and showcase how we can all work together to create an environmentally friendly and greener future for our city,” said Lord Mayor Sally Capp.
What’s available for visitors?
Every year, thousands of visitors are expected to take farm tours, enjoy workshops, eat at the café or attend local events. The site will show you how to grow fresh produce and how nature can be incorporated into city spaces.
On top of that, thousands of school students are expected to visit the site each year, to learn more about sustainable living, regenerative practices and the protection and restoration of nature. There will be a space devoted to education, so that students, community groups, businesses and more can learn more about sustainability.
Meanwhile, the licensed café will seat 90 people and use sustainable produce and native ingredients. There will also be public and hireable spaces for events, exhibitions, conferences and more.Learn more about this environmental paradise here.