Urban design and planning consultancy Hatch RobertsDay is calling for developers to turn their unused land into urban farms, in the hopes of incorporating localised food systems into our communities.

Recent growing fears of food shortages and empty supermarket shelves have spurred the emergence of fruit and vegetable gardens on residential properties, and independent ‘urban farms’ for local communities at apartment blocks and on suburban land pockets. Restaurant food gardens are also proving to be popular.

Hatch RobertsDay has long identified the benefits of bringing locally and sustainably produced food to the community.

A key driver behind this vision is Catherine Simpson, Queensland Senior Urban Designer at Hatch RobertsDay. Catherine is also a director of Brisbane Food City – a collaborative, community-led initiative consisting of several leading agriculture experts – which was recently shortlisted for the Rockefeller Food Vision Prize. RobertsDay contributed to the Brisbane Food City initiative during its early stages. 

The vision reimagines Brisbane as a sustainable, localised food system, bringing food production to 190 Brisbane suburbs through farms and hubs by 2050. Catherine’s expertise, along with Brisbane Food City’s project vision, prompted them to engage with developers to create urban farms throughout the city. 

“Hatch RobertsDay continues to support the Brisbane Food City vision by designing these urban farms and sourcing easily accessible land parcels around Brisbane, ensuring they offer good-quality and uncontaminated soil, and functional design. These farms and hubs will not only make use of undeveloped and underutilised land, but will help promote self-sufficiency, food security, and a greater sense of community. It also presents a great opportunity for developers to engage with the local community,” says Simpson.

The urban farms will vary in size, from 100-3000sqm, and include garden patches and small workshop spaces. The farms will feature a variety of fruit trees, vegetable patches, flowering plants, and herbs. Workshops will also be a key aspect, making use of existing spaces, such as sheds, to hold cooking, floristry and gardening classes for the community. It will be created as a family-friendly community space. 

Hatch RobertsDay notes the four main benefits of urban farms include accessibility to produce, increasing community self-sufficiency, improving health and strengthening a sense of community.

“Urban farms and food hubs promote a localised food system that is not only sustainable but powered by and for the people, fostering a sense of community and encouraging Australians to be more self-sufficient, healthy, and empowered food citizens,” says Simpson.

Image: https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2018/5/2/the-future-with-urban-farming