Paula Tomkins, Senior Manager, Open Space Planning at the Greater Sydney Parklands, leads a discussion of the planning framework used to reinvigorate agricultural activities and food production in Western Sydney Parklands. The talk will be followed by a minibus tour of the Urban Farming precinct, including a stop at one of its most popular family-run farm stalls.
Western Sydney has historically been the food bowl for Greater Sydney, with agriculture dominating the landscape up until the 1940s – including much of what is now Western Sydney Parklands. Often referred to as ‘Sydney’s Biggest Backyard’, Western Sydney Parklands stretches over 5,280 hectares through three council areas: Blacktown, Fairfield and Liverpool. Located within the Parklands, the Horsley Park Urban Farming Precinct’s 100 hectares produce a huge variety of food including strawberries, chillies, Lebanese cucumbers, snake beans, cherry tomatoes, Asian greens and even sugar cane.
While much of the area’s productive land has been urbanised in recent decades, a further 160+ hectares of the Parklands has recently been set aside for farming with the intent of creating a bustling farmgate trail and hub for urban agriculture and agritourism.
Horsley Park Urban Farms is part of Sydney Design Week’s urban food program curated by chef Xinyi Lim (林心仪) who through her venture Megafauna uses food as an artistic tool for social justice, community-building and the exploration of culture and heritage.
Paula Tomkins is the Senior Manager, Open Space Planning at Greater Sydney Parklands (GSP) which includes Western Sydney Parklands. She is an urban planner with more than 20 years’ experience working in strategic and statutory planning across local and State government and the private sector. Her role involves strategic and statutory planning for the parklands such as plans of management. This includes the urban farming strategy – which seeks to protect and promote valuable urban agricultural areas to create recreation, tourism, education, local sustainable food supply and economic opportunities.
Xinyi Lim’s (林心仪) the exploration of the Australian food industry has seen her cooking in several notable kitchens in Sydney including Cafe Freda’s in Darlinghurst (where she was opening head chef) and three-hatted restaurant Firedoor in Surry Hills (NSW Restaurant of the Year 2023) while maintaining her commitment to social causes through work with enterprises such as Welcome Merchant, Two Good Co and OzHarvest. She is currently a food consultant, food stylist and freelance chef, and continues to write and converse about all things food and culture.
On Cabrogal land
Horsley Park Urban Farming Precinct
Horsley Park NSW 2175
17 September 2023
Meet at Lizard Log, Western Sydney Parklands