The Co-op Market Garden

Rear access (via College Lane), 55-57 Katoomba Street, Katoomba

Exciting developments are afoot at the Co-op!

We’ve teamed up with local not-for-profit social enterprise Farm It Forward to launch a fresh new initiative: a regenerative market garden right in the heart and cultural centre of Katoomba!

Just up the road from the Co-op and next to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and The Carrington hotel gardens (south boundary), our new Market Garden gives fresh life, nourishment and vitality to a site largely-unused in recent years and generously loaned to the project by owner and local, John Lekkas.

The project is coordinated by Farm It Forward, with help from green-thumbed volunteers, and the new edible garden patch will primarily be used to grow super-local produce for our community for sale at the Blue Mountains Food Co-op.

This inclusive space will also host a variety of workshops, events and social initiatives facilitated by Farm It Forward and The Co-op independently and collaboratively. And for our very first of such events, our Market Garden will feature as a demonstration garden in the Co-op-run annual Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail, coming up on October 15 and 16, 2022

We’re thrilled to be sharing this new venture with you and the resulting produce and community connection and nourishment that will grow and evolve within this regenerative space.

The high-vibe and overwhelming support and enthusiasm from our Co-op community and cheer squad is encouraging: members, customers, staff and volunteers (present and former) are full of praise for the Co-op finally taking this long-visioned step — and it’s all happening now!

Wander by to check out the site, then pop by the Co-op store and let us know what you think! Or register for a volunteer shift — details below.

We’ll share Market Garden news, events and opportunities on this page and on our socials so check back in here from time to time and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop.

Site Transformation & Launch

Friday July 1, 2022

Last week, a 40-strong team of Farm It Forward and Blue Mountains Co-op volunteers joined forces to transform our newly-acquired garden plot — laying foundations, soil, compost and seedlings to initiate our urban farm.

Steady rain and a drizzly, overcast, chilly day did not deter our committed, diverse bunch of helpers of all ages (children through to elders) and with varying degrees of edible gardening skills, experience and knowledge. All contributed to the lovely ebb and flow of people power and energy from morning to dusk.

Co-op Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Tyson reports: ‘I have never felt such a buzzing energy amongst a group of volunteers! Everyone was smiling through the rain and enthusiastically contributing quite hard labour. It was like a beehive, with everyone doing different jobs and working towards our ambitious goal all at once. Whether it be driving around town looking for cardboard or laying out rows of compost, everyone helped in the best way they could. It was really nice to see people taking a break throughout the day for cake, chai, yarns and/or pizza, and looking out over the wonderful progress made with clear satisfaction on their faces. A highlight was when the landowner visited the site and was impressed with the volume of helpers and the progress made in only an hour or two!’

Farm It Forward demonstrated exceptional skills and orchestration for a truly efficient and speedy garden set-up that certainly exceeded our expectations of what was possible to achieve in a garden in one day!

A huge shout out and thanks to Farm It Forward and all of the amazing volunteers (both Farm It Forward and Co-op) who showed up and invested  such valuable energy into this ground and new initiative. It was a stellar turn-out of volunteers — the best yet for any Co-op working bee. So much excitement and enthusiasm and a considerable number of new volunteers joining our Co-op Volunteer Team! The launch was a huge success and we are absolutely heartened and inspired to witness what our community collective is capable of when we join forces around a common cause.

Photo and Timelapse source: Emmanuela Prigioni, Farm It Forward

Volunteer at the Market Garden!

Lend us your green thumb and come work with us to nurture and tend new life and produce for our community in our Market Garden.

Three 3-hour volunteer shifts are available every Thursday 10:00am – 1:00pm at the Co-op Market Gardens in exchange for volunteer points. To sign up (and accrue Co-op volunteer points), register here Volunteering.

Alternatively, follow Farm It Forward and their socials to stay in the loop with Farm It Forward volunteer opportunities Instagram @farmitforward and Facebook @farmitforward5

Photo source: Emmanuela Prigioni, Farm It Forward

About Farm It Forward

“Farm It Forward is a not-for-profit urban farming social enterprise model connecting landowners and local young people who are passionate about growing food. The project fosters youth and community mental health, develops skills, training and job opportunities, while tackling social isolation and increasing community wellbeing” — Farm It Forward

Their mission is to grow nutrient dense regenerative food for the local community whilst raising awareness on growing practises and the mental health benefits of growing a food garden. Social outreach is a big part of what they do: empowering people to create local food systems creating resilience and nurturing our physical and mental health into the future.

For more information visit: www.farmitforward.com.au