Australia's first Indigenous Rooftop Farm
Backyard & Garden Design Ideas|Issue #17.5
Up high in Sydney there’s a bevy of native drought-tolerant plants growing, and they’re feeding the Sydneysiders living below
Cat Woods

Woiwurrung and Maneroo man Christian Hampson and Mindjingbal-Bundjalung man Clarence Slockee envisioned a hub for community as well as a central source of sustainable food when they founded Australia’s first Indigenous rooftop garden.

Yerrabingin, on the fourth storey in Sydney’s South Eveleigh precinct, was a collaborative project initiated with the assistance of real estate business Mirvac. The 500sqm space is home to more than 2000 medicinal plants and bush foods, which supply Sydney restaurants.

Yerrabingin is providing workshops, education and, most importantly, jobs and opportunities for Indigenous people to work on the gardens and behind the scenes to organise workshops and events.

Christian and Clarence initially envisaged a landscape garden within the precinct. It was the vision and suggestion of Mirvac that the duo instead plan and implement a rooftop farm.

“I have extensive experience in heritage conservation and environmentalism, having worked with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for many years,” Christian explains. “Clarence has spent many years in the education and tourism sectors as education co-ordinator with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. His expertise is in developing and delivering a range of programs.”

Due to exposure to the elements, including strong winds, the plants were chosen for their endurance and adaptability. Among the many varied species, warrigal greens and finger limes have proven popular with the Sydney restaurants that Yerrabingin supplies.

ORGANIC, NATURAL SYSTEMS

“The farm is 100 per cent native plant species and many of the herbs and shrubs such as bush mint, snake vine and thyme honey-myrtle are being grown purely to attract pollinators and increase biodiversity within the space,” Christian reveals.

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