Work begins on Melbourne Skyfarm rooftop farm

Melbourne Skyfarm

A group of Melbourne-based sustainability companies are planning to transform a 2000-square-metre rooftop car park on the edge of the city into a thriving farm with sustainable and contemporary dining, environmental education, and conference spaces.

Located in Melbourne’s emerging Seafarer’s precinct, Melbourne Skyfarm directly overlooks the Yarra River, across from the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

“Melbourne Skyfarm aims to be a wonderful platform to showcase what is possible for sustainable cities embracing the future,” Melbourne Skyfarm Director Brendan Condon says.

“We look forward to this site adding to the attraction of our vibrant city, and unleashing the inventiveness and creativity of the city’s students, sustainable designers and innovators.”

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Melbourne Skyfarm is planned to be open to the public, providing an urban rooftop oasis for inner city Melbournians. Visitors will be able to tour the working farm, visit the orchard, sample rooftop honey, dine at the sustainable café, have a drink on the deck, hire event spaces, attend classes at the environmental education centre or enjoy the children’s playground.

“Melbourne Skyfarm represents a fundamental shift in what it means to do business in this day and age. It is a bold and exciting step towards a future where nature in cities is the norm. A world where businesses seek to not only minimise their impact on the environment, but actually seek to generate good,” Melbourne Skyfarm Director and Odonata Chair Nigel Sharp says.

Melbourne Skyfarm
The Biofilta urban farming system is low maintenance, soil based, self watering, ergonomic, and can be rapidly assembled within days.

“It is a demonstration of how nature, people and our economy can thrive together and provides a much-needed platform in the inner-city for interaction, education and story-telling about the wonders of nature.”

Melbourne Skyfarm is the result of a collaboration between Melbourne-based nature regeneration and protection group Odonata, urban farming company Biofilta, and The Sustainable Landscape Company, with the support of MCEC and City of Melbourne Urban Forest Fund.

The skyfarm will feature Biofilta’s water-efficient, pop-up farming system. It will grow over five tonnes of fresh produce per annum, with a large proportion of produce being donated to Melbourne food charities as well as being used on the menu of the Melbourne Skyfarm café. The farm will also incorporate a rooftop orchard and working bee hives.

The project is currently undergoing planning approvals with the City of Melbourne and is aiming to construct a demonstration working farm for the second half of 2019, with all elements and buildings completed by late 2020.

In anticipation of Melbourne Skyfarm, the team have constructed a test farm at the headquarters of Cirrus Fine Coffee – Biofilta’s sister company – at 1/5 Rocklea Drive Port Melbourne, which has been in operation for the past six months.

This two car space farm has produced in excess of 300 kilograms of fresh herbs and vegetables in less than six months, with most of the produce being donated to food charity OzHarvest.

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