Farm It Forward's main HQ
Farm It Forward HQ vegetable market garden
We pay our respects to the rightful custodians of the land we grow on, the Gundungurra and Dharug people.
Farm It Forward is a social enterprise connecting landowners and local young people who are passionate about growing food.
Over its 3.5 years of operation it has provided the community with avenues for obtaining skills, training and job opportunities in regenerative market gardening, while tackling issues of food security, social isolation, social inclusion, and mental health in the Blue Mountains area.
How does Farm It Forward work?
In exchange for allowing their land to be used for market gardening, landowners receive their weekly needs in vegetables for free, grown on their own property or on other land farmed by the project.
In the process, regular and supportive contact between the young urban farmers and participants provides real personal benefits, addressing loneliness and anxiety, adding value to the lives of isolated people and giving purpose and meaningful employment to young aspiring growers.
Paid young people and volunteers from the community visit the market gardens weekly, maintaining local, organic food production, and enhancing cross-generational community connections.
Social wellbeing, belonging and improved mental health are a significant focus in our weekly community volunteer sessions, where we offer a supportive context for gentle, social nature based therapy.
All excess produce and flowers are sold to local food cooperatives, cafes, and directly to our community via our Saturday farmgate (subscribe to our email list on our website for more info).
This provides the social enterprise a viable source of revenue allowing it to continue its important work in the community.
We work alongside youth organisations including MYST (Mountains Youth Support Team) and Headspace Katoomba, hosting youth outreach sessions, food growing and nature-therapy programs.
Our past and present supporters include Blue Mountains City Council, Hawkesbury Local Landcare Service, Landcare Australia, the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, Susan Templeman MP, the Blue Mountains Food Co-op, and Bendigo Bank.
What is a 'Market Garden' and What Growing Methods Do We Use?
A "market garden" is simply a vegetable plot, where the produce is sold to the community as opposed to being grown for personal use. Through selling produce grown here, Farm It Forward actively contributes to circular economics, greater food security and community resilience.
We like to call our method radical non-disturbance. We never dig or till the soil, only add a generous layer of organic matter on top, before and after each crop. We treat each crop as a cover crop, keeping the soil happy with living plants at all times, nurturing and feeding a diverse community of soil microorganisms that in turn keep our plants and ecosystems happy. Our sources of organic material/compost are our own worm farms and good quality locally sourced mushroom compost. We have regenerated over 2 acres of depleted, eroded soil in this way, and turned it into productive, healthy urban market gardens.
What is growing here at the moment?
Starting from the back: asparagus, comfrey, calendula, viola, nasturtium, rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, choko, oca yam, coriander, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, edible chrysanthemum, potatoes, rainbow chard, zucchini, snow peas, beans.