From waste to wonder: Sydney City Farm cultivates abundance for communities

Compassion and connection deliver dining with dignity for those facing food insecurity

Sydney City Farm in St Peters is a masterclass in urban ecology and environmental renewal. The farm is located on a regenerated site which was a former quarry and landfill. It now produces around 400kg of organically grown fruit and vegetables each year.

All produce is donated to local charities that help feed people in need, including Refettorio OzHarvest in Surry Hills.

Sydney City Farm plant whisperer, Jon Kingston, shows Jez Wick some of the latest asparagus crop. Photo: Chris Southwood, City of Sydney.

The Refettorio is a partnership between acclaimed Italian chef Massimo Bottura and OzHarvest. This meeting of ideals and minds gave rise to a community hub, offering meals and connection with the vulnerable in our communities.

“It’s about more than just feeding people,” Refettorio head chef Jez Wick said. “It’s about giving people respect, feeding them beautiful food with dignity.”

Blooms and seedlings in the nursery. Photo: Chris Southwood, City of Sydney.

The menu at Refettorio OzHarvest is purely vegetarian and changes weekly, with meals based around the food OzHarvest has rescued that week.

“The produce from Sydney City Farm works perfectly for the Refettorio,” Wick said. “It’s beautiful produce, and the smaller quantities and the more unusual items like edible flowers, mustard greens, unique lettuces and herbs, are perfect for our style of cooking.”

Refettorio OzHarvet head chef Jez Wick with Jon Kingston and Belinda Thackeray from the City of Sydney. Belinda and Jon know every leaf, stem and bud in the farm and were on hand to show Jez Wick exactly how the produce donated to OzHarvest is grown. Photo: Chris Southwood, City of Sydney

The chef recently visited Sydney City Farm to get a firsthand look at how the produce that makes it to her kitchen is grown.

“It’s a beautiful organic farm – so much work goes into growing food, it’s quite bonkers what has been achieved here,” Wick said.

Sydney City Farm is in Sydney Park and explorers are welcome.

You can go one better and volunteer as a Sydney City farmer. "Volunteers are involved in everything we do at the farm," Sydney City Farm program manager Belinda Thackeray said. "They plant the seeds in the nursery, nurture all our crops, and collect the harvest."

Learn more about the farm and Refettorio OzHarvest.

Jez Wick and Belinda Thackeray with some of the farm's raised beds. Everything is grown above ground or is grafted to dwarf root stock, to avoid deep roots piercing the clay cap installed over the former tip site below. Photo: Chris Southwood, City of Sydney.

Late winter masquerading as early spring in Sydney City Farm. Photo: Chris Southwood, City of Sydney

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