Yerrabingin, a start-up founded by UTS Bachelor of Business Administration (Indigenous) graduates Clarence Slockee and Christian Hampson, has opened Australia’s first Indigenous Rooftop farm, in conjunction with real estate developer Mirvac.
NSW Governor David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley attended the event, with ABC TV Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis officially opening the site.
Based at South Eveleigh, the farm will grow native and medicinal plants and bush food. The project aims to teach people about Indigenous culture, with the produce also available for sale.
“We’re hoping this will become the prototype for future projects across the country,” said Slockee, a Mindjingbal-Bundjalug man who has a background in Environmental Education and is a regular presenter on Gardening Australia.
“We’re very excited to be trialing this concept and we can see a lot of potential for Indigenous rooftop farms elsewhere in Australia,” he told Commercial Real Estate News.
We’re hoping this will become the prototype for future projects across the country
Produce from the farm will include saltbush, native mint, finger limes, warrigal greens, wild rosella, midyim berries, muntries and native elderberries. The farm aims to be a complete eco-system, with native bees for pollination and native indigo as a nitrogen-fixer.
“For rooftops, I think often native plants are ideal as they can be very hardy in places that are very sunny and dry,” Slockee said.
“And it’s wonderful that it’s happening in South Eveleigh around this industrial heritage where so many Aboriginal people worked and is so well known as a place where workers found a collective voice.
“It’s good to see the landscape will now also incorporate elements of the oldest living culture and the oldest tried-and-true methodologies around caring for the environment,” he said.
Hampson, a Woiwurrung and Maneroo man with an extensive background in cultural heritage management, is also working with Stockee on the South Eveleigh Aboriginal Cultural Landscape Garden for the site.
Mirvac Project Director, William Walker, said “Mirvac’s vision for South Eveleigh was to create a state-of-the-art work and lifestyle destination that connects people culturally, socially and physically. Both the farm and the garden will contribute to South Eveleigh’s array of public and shared spaces where the community can come together.
“The site has an important Indigenous legacy. Yerrabingin is a visionary start-up that will help Mirvac ensure this legacy is represented on site through a rich cultural experience, including the rooftop farm and cultural landscape garden for the South Eveleigh community and the wider public to enjoy."
Robynne Quiggin, Professor of Practice and Director of Indigenous Strategy at UTS Business School, congratulated Slockee and Hampson on the launch of this ambitious and inspiring project.
Slockee and Hampson were part of the first cohort of UTS BBA (Indigenous) students, and developed Yerrabingin, which means “we walk together”, in 2018.
The UTS BBA (Indigenous), unique in Australia, is specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals wishing to gain a business degree qualification.
The executive-style program, which covers core functions of management and business administration, is taught in residential mode, where students attend classes at UTS for three six-day blocks per semester.
Visit the Yerrabingin website: www.yerrabingin.com.au