Sydney City Farm President Andrew Jackson voiced his passion to start a City Farm at the recent Leichhhardt Council Meeting about Callan Park. If you didn’t get to go along to the meeting, you can read what he said right here:
Leichhardt Town Hall, November 3:
I have lived in Leichhardt for 15 years. For too long I have thought Callan Park was going to
become another tragic missed opportunity. Yesterday as I walked around the beautiful park I felt,
for the first time, a sense of excitement and hope.
I would like to thank FOCP for maintaining the fight and making this happen.
We talk a lot about the community, but what does it mean in our modern crowded cities where
talking to a stranger on the street is at best unusual, and at worst, treated with distrust or suspicion.
The small communities we do have are often formed around the school or childcare centre or
perhaps the local dog-walking park.
And yet, modern city dwellers need a sense of community as much as we did in the past, when life
was lived in small rural towns and villages.
We need to create this sense of community again…we need a place were it is ok to talk to
We would like Sydney City Farm to be a place like that.
Our vision is to create a green sanctuary showcasing an eco-friendly future in the heart of Sydney.
…a place where people can be inspired to live and work in a way that uses less energy, water and
resources, and creates minimal pollution.
…a place that will attract people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
…a place that will be an alternative to the huge air-conditioned shopping malls that have replaced
the local shops that used to be within walking distance of our homes.
…a place where you don’t need to spend money to be welcome.
…a vibrant and welcoming place where parents with young children can meet for a coffee while
their children play away from busy roads and traffic.
I was lucky enough to have grown up on a farm. I know the joy of hearing the sound of a chicken
that has just laid an egg and collecting that still warm egg from the straw where it was laid.
We would like city kids to see where their food comes from with their own eyes. Even better, to get
involved in it’s production. We intend that the farm will develop programs with local schools that
have limited space and resources.
I think we all agreed that there is enormous therapeutic benefit from growing plants, getting our
hands in the soil and looking after animals. These are the things that keep us sane or enable us to
find a sense of peace in the crazy world we live in.
In the past we have known this. When Callan Park was devoted to mental health, there was
an extensive farm within the grounds. It would be wonderful to see it reinstated.
There is enormous potential for the City Farm to help rehabilitate and provide training for people
recovering from mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and other related traumas.
We at Sydney City Farm, have spent a considerable amount of time developing a possible plan for
the farm. We believe we have found the best possible place for it within the site. These plans are
available on our web site.
The farm would be a not for profit organisation that will belong to all its members and the
community as a whole. Any income generated will be reinvested in our ongoing work for the
It would be managed by a core of paid staff who would organise the volunteers.
There would be no fences, simply pathways running through the farm, much like any other park.
But instead of rose gardens there might be lettuces.
In handing the use of a 4 to 6 hectare section of the park over to the farm, the council would be
saving the considerable costs of maintaining the grounds and buildings We would take
responsibility for the cost of managing the grounds and buildings we use.
Since June we have been promoting the city farm idea at various markets and events. This has been
the most fantastic experience. We have had an almost 100% positive response and currently have
1500 supporters, 300 of which are paid members … and that’s for something that doesn’t exist yet!
Sydney is ready and waiting for a City Farm and Sustainable Living Centre.
Leichhardt Council now has the historic opportunity to meet that demand and become a leader in
local government on environmental education.
Tell us, why would you like to see a City Farm at Callan Park?
What would you like to see as part of our City Farm?