Today, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has unveiled the first completed section of a new rooftop oasis in the CBD’s Seafarers precinct. The 2000-square-metre space overlooks the Yarra River and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was once a bleak, exposed rooftop car park and now it’s full of colour and vitality with herbs and plants overflowing from self-watering plant banks.

It’s the first stage of the Melbourne Skyfarm project, which will open to the public in late 2022. When it’s ready, visitors will be able to visit the rooftop garden, sample honey from the hives, take tours and workshops in the space, and visit the new 90-seat cafe and other venues.

The urban oasis is a first for Victoria, and the project is due to take 12 months to finish. A bunch of sustainability-focused companies are behind the initiative, including urban farming company Biofilta, the Sustainable Landscape Company and nature regeneration and protection group Odonata, plus Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the City of Melbourne.

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Not just a pretty spot to sit in, the urban farm will grow an estimated five tonnes of food per year, which will be donated to food waste charity OzHarvest as well as used by the rooftop cafe. The green space also helps cool the urban environment, working as an example to others of how to incorporate more green spaces in evermore densely populated cities.

The Lord Mayor said she’s incredibly excited that Skyfarm has come to fruition. “Through our Urban Forest Fund we committed $300,000 to support the delivery of the urban farm component of Skyfarm and we’re extremely proud of what [Melbourne Skyfarm director] Brendan Condon, and his team, has delivered,” she said in a statement.

“It has never been more important for us to invest in sustainable greening ... Projects like this will help to bring back the buzz by attracting more visitors into the city to enjoy this amazing rooftop urban farm.”