Sydney City Farm News - October 2020

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Sydney City Farm - City of Sydney

The latest from the farm

• We’re delighted to be welcoming back our volunteers who are busy helping to rejuvenate the farm after the Covid-19 shutdown period.
• Over 400kg of fresh food was harvested in 2019/20 and donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre for distribution to people in need.
• Our small plant propagation area is now operating, supplying much of the stock we’re planting at the farm.
• We’ve created some Zoom online classes to keep inspiring and upskilling people in urban agriculture while venues remain closed.
• Our school curriculum programs have been developed with a focus on sustainability, biodiversity and food production outcomes while students explore Sydney Park and the farm site.
• We’re busy planning for the construction of the farm orchard with more than 80 fruit trees, vines and bushes suited to Sydney’s climate. The orchard will showcase different growing styles including pleaching, hedging and espalier.
• Our business plan is being updated to reflect the farm’s development and make sure we continue to meet community expectations and needs. You’ll have an opportunity to get involved in helping shape our future direction.

Farm volunteers are back

Volunteers are now back at the farm with sessions held on Thursdays and fortnightly on Saturdays. The morning sessions from 9.30am to 11am focus on general farm activities from harvesting and weeding, to planting and watering. The lunchtime sessions from 12.30pm to 2pm focus on plant propagation, seed collection and nursery work. No experience is needed – just bring a can-do attitude and we’ll show you everything you need to know. For details or to register for a volunteer session visit What’s on. Bookings are essential.

We are introducing a new Farm Hands program for volunteers who are interested in joining a small team and working regularly at the farm outside of the formal volunteer sessions. If you’d like to find out more, please email us to register your interest.

Volunteer opportunities

Complete this short survey on opportunities that would suit you and help shape our future volunteer programs.

Farm programs and Covid safety

We’re committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for our volunteers, program attendees, staff and visitors. We have developed and follow an approved Covid-19 safety plan that includes wellness, distance and hygiene considerations. Attendee numbers at farm programs have been reduced to allow for physical distancing, and we have hygiene protocols in place including regular cleaning of all tools, equipment and high touch points. We also have a site QR code for contact tracing. All volunteers and program attendees must complete a Covid-19 wellness questionnaire before coming to the farm.

Did you know...?

We have created some no-dig vegan garden beds at the farm. These are gardens where no animal manure or fertiliser derived from blood meal and bone meal is used. We are using biointensive agriculture techniques to increase soil biodiversity and fertility. Compost created by our volunteers is added. Soil nitrogen is built by planting seasonal cover crops like brassicas and legumes that are dug back into the soil as part of our regular eight crop rotation cycle. Not digging or cultivating the beds helps to maintain soil structure and encourages natural earthworm activity.

Upcoming education programs

Worm farming - zoom online class

Worm farming is a great way to deal with kitchen waste and produce a fantastic
organic soil conditioner to use in pots or garden beds. Discover how to start your own worm farm in an online class.

Date: Saturday 31 October
Time: 10am to 11.30am
Location: Online class (zoom)

Herb propagation - hands on session

Join us for a hands-on session where you will propagate herbs from cuttings, division and seed. Be inspired and learn how easy it is to create your own new plants.

Date: Saturday 28 November
Time: 10am to 11am or 12pm to 1pm
Location: Sydney Park Pavilion, Alexandria

Compost and worm farm basics - onsite talk

Learn the basics to get you started with home composting and worm farming in this talk. Worm farms and composting are a great way to deal with kitchen, household and garden waste while reducing your eco-footprint.

Date: Saturday 12 December
Time: 10am to 11.30am
Location: Sydney Park Pavilion, Alexandria

Worm farming and compost Q&A

Here are some answers from our expert Toni Salter to common questions in some recent Zoom online classes.

Q. How much do I feed my worms?
A. When starting out try feeding your worms a handful of food at a time and wait a few days to add some more. Food chopped into smaller pieces is processed more quickly.

Q. How do we know when our worm farm has reached capacity?
A. Toni said not to worry about overcrowding in your worm farm, because worms self-regulate their population size and will slow their breeding rate as the worm farm reaches capacity.

Q. Can we add coffee grounds to our compost?
A. Yes! Treat coffee grounds as a ‘green’ input in your compost. They are relatively high in nitrogen. Balance the coffee grounds with at least equal volume of ‘browns’ like newspaper and dry leaves and mix through thoroughly.

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