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Brisbane Urban Agriculture Forum 2023

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Event description

Join us for Meanjin’s (Brisbane) inaugural Urban Agriculture Forum (UAF) on the lands of the Yuggera & Turrbal peoples. We’re excited to hold Queensland’s first UAF at the heritage listed ‘Old Bishopbourne’ (St Francis Theological College) in Milton on Monday 20th November. At this event, we’ll begin to chart a thriving future for urban agriculture in the South-East Queensland region and across Australia.

Harvest insights by hearing from local and international speakers working on the farm, on-the-ground with communities, with governments, and in research spaces. Through keynote presentations and panel discussions these individuals will share their knowledge, success stories and pressing challenges. By covering topics that include governance, education, soil and compost, and food insecurity, we can unearth opportunities for urban agriculture development.

Honour Country and celebrate diversity by engaging with and hearing First Nations’ perspectives on urban food initiatives. We envision a day that highlights the importance of diverse perspectives in urban agriculture’s governance and decision-making, involving First Nations’ perspectives, as well as a celebration of culturally-diverse communities.

Cultivate connections through building relationships in an open space networking session with like-minded individuals and organisations. This will offer a chance for you to discuss your urban agriculture ideas and projects, as well as opportunities to seed inspiration and collaboration.

We invite all who work in this field and are passionate about urban agriculture, urban planning, community development, and human and ecological well-being."

Join us and participate in the movement transforming our city into a thriving hub of urban agriculture innovation. Together, we'll sow the seeds of change and reap a bountiful harvest of sustainable urban growth. 

BUAF23 will be the signature local food growing event for South East Queensland during national Urban Agriculture Month in November. Our region has an incredible network of farmers, community coordinators, educators, volunteers, advocates, policy specialists and social entrepreneurs working in the urban ag and community food space. BUAF23 invites anyone interested in our food future to network, learn and share. 

The event will include a Welcome to Country, keynotes from First Nations and international speakers, and info sessions on governance, education, compost and soils, and food insecurity. An ‘open space networking session’, where anyone can bring issues and ideas to be discussed will be a feature. 

The event will be held from 8.45am to 4pm on Monday 20th November at the heritage listed ‘Old Bishopborne’ in Milton. Lunch, and morning and afternoon tea will be provided.

As a feature event in the 3rd national Urban Agriculture Month, coordinated by Sustain, this event will contribute to the growing momentum for the transition to sustainable and resilient food systems that enable flourishing human and ecological communities.

Keynote presentation - Dominique Chen

Urban spaces are still, and always will be Country. While over 81% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia live in urban environments, they are often spaces where First Nations people and communities are overlooked, marginalised, and disenfranchised. This presentation will explore some of the specific social, cultural and political histories and ongoing realities of urban spaces for First Nations people, and dream into the possibilities and necessities of culturally centred, First Nations-led, urban food initiatives.

Dominique Chen

Dominique Chen is a Gamilaroi/Gomeroi woman, and interdisciplinary researcher, living on Jinibara Country in South East Queensland. She lectures within the Batchelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art, Griffith University, and is undertaking PhD research at the University of Technology Sydney in the area of relational creative practice and urban-based Aboriginal food and medicine growing. She is a co-founder of Yuruwan, an Aboriginal-run not-for-profit supporting learning opportunities for culturally-centred, urban-based food and medicine growing, by and for Aboriginal people. Dom is a mother, artist, writer, maker and avid gardener, and is passionate about the role of grounded, community-led and creative practices in making positive contributions to community, culture and Country.


Rabekah Siebert is City of Dallas’ Comprehensive Urban Agriculture Plan Manager, working collaboratively to build a resilient food system in the Dallas region. She is committed to regenerative agriculture models that serve the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profitable livelihood. Rabekah will share how the City of Dallas is leading the way in becoming more sustainable through urban agriculture.

Rabekha Siebert

Linda Appel Lipsius, CEO of Denver Urban Gardeners (DUG) in Colorado is working to amplify the role that community gardens and food forests can play in the infrastructure of thriving cities. Started in 1978, DUG is one of the country's largest independent community garden organizations with 192 gardens and 6 food forests in metro Denver.

Linda Appel Lipsius

Jen Basham

Jen is currently Urban Sustainability Organiser with the Queensland Conservation Council. She has had diverse experiences over her career, including in law, the public service, community and project development, policy and advocacy. She has worked with Government, Indigenous led organisations, community NGO’s and faith based organisations, in Victoria, the ACT, NT and across Queensland.

She now lives on Turrbal and Yuggera country in Brisbane. She loves being out amongst nature and is passionate about the health and flourishing of both human and non-human life.

Jen Basham

Nick Rose

Nick Rose has been the Executive Director of Sustain: The Australian Food Network since its establishment in January 2016. With a background In law and community development, Nick brings more than 15 years of working at the grassroots and institutional level in several Australian states in food sovereignty and sustainable food systems. He is the editor of "Fair Food: Stories From a Movement Changing The World (2015)" and the co-editor of "Reclaiming The Urban Commons: The Past, Present and Future of Food Growing in Australian Towns And Cities (2018)." Nick is also a lecturer in food systems, food policy and governance and food movements for William Angliss Institute in their Bachelor of Food Studies and Master of Food Systems and Gastronomy.

Nick Rose

Dr Kiah Smith

Dr Kiah Smith is a sociologist, activist and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Futures, UQ.  Her study Fair Food Futures explores how people are re-imagining what a better food system might look like in response to multiple crises. Using a mix of future scenarios, action research and a ‘food utopias’ framework, the project identifies pathways to food justice both in Australia and internationally. Kiah has also published widely on food security, the right to food, gender empowerment, sustainable livelihoods, resilience, financialisation, ethical trade, green economy and food governance, and regularly provides expert sustainability advice to the United Nations and various civic food organisations. More information about Fair Food Futures – including the podcast - can be found at

Dr Kiah Smith

Meet MC Jerry Coleby-Williams 

Jerry Coleby-Williams is an internationally experienced horticultural botanist, a conservationist, a writer and Director of the Seed Savers’ Network Inc. He is the Patron of the National Toxics Network Inc.

Initially trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK) and the Royal Horticultural Society (UK), Jerry is qualified in horticultural estate management, soft landscape design, arboriculture, conservation, horticultural and botanical sciences.

Jerry has managed plant production nurseries, urban forests, heritage parks, one of London’s busiest garden centres, and he helped establish Mt Annan Native Botanic Garden (NSW). For twelve years, Jerry managed the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. His design of the Rare & Threatened Plants Garden (1998) launched a career in radio, magazine writing, public speaking and television.

In 2003, Jerry created Bellis, a unique, affordable, sustainable house and garden in subtropical Brisbane by retrofitting a century old Queenslander house. Bellis is carbon positive, exporting solar electricity, sequestering carbon dioxide, recycling all waste water for food growing in a water sensitive landscape that mitigates localised flooding and sustains production during drought.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

About the organisers 

Community Gardens Australia

Community Gardens Australia (CGA) is a networking organisation connecting community gardeners around Australia. They advocate in support of community gardens and the practice of community gardening as a form of urban land-use and social development.

Baroona Farm

Baroona Farm is an Urban Agriculture project located in the park-like grounds of St Francis Theological College in Melbourne. The first gardens were installed on the old tennis court in early 2019 utilising raised wicking bed technology due to the heritage overlay on the site. Today there are over 120 beds for growing crops and, once filled, the small 300m2 area will fit just under 200 beds. These are all faithfully and lovingly tended to at regular working bees by a network of volunteers.

As a ministry of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, Baroona Farm has a mission ‘to grow food and community with and for the nutritionally vulnerable’.  This has been made manifest through partnerships with refugees and people seeking asylum in and around Brisbane to grow culturally important and specific crops.  These people are amongst some of the most nutritionally vulnerable in Qld and their voice is critical in crop choices and care for making an impact on the lives of others.

Northey Street City Farm

Founded in 1994, Northey Street City Farm is a vibrant green oasis on the banks of Brisbane’s Enoggera Creek in Windsor. It’s purpose is to be an inspirational working model of a community-based urban permaculture farm which promotes and educates for sustainability. The city farm provides a site for people from all walks of life to volunteer and learn about permaculture principles and practice through practical, hands on experience. More than 1500 exotic and native fruit trees, bush food plants, shrubs and ground covers have been planted on the 2.5-hectare farm site since its inception. The city farm also has a weekly organic farmers market, a retail nursery, allotments for hire, education programs for people of all ages and many events for the community to engage in throughout the year.

The Mini Farm Project

The Mini Farm Project is a charity working to Build Farms to Feed Aussies in Need. They now have two active charity farms in Samford and Loganlea and plan on developing more farms to grow fruit, vegetables, fish, eggs and bush foods to meet the shortfall in available food for people in need.

About the venue

Old Bishopsbourne

The Old Bishopsbourne building is a Milton landmark, although these days hidden behind XXXX Brewery and the urban sprawl. This remarkable building was built between 1865-1868 for the Anglican Bishops and Archbishops of Brisbane.  It was designed by colonial architect Benjamin Backhouse who was also the founding architect of nearby Government House.

Anglican Bishop occupied this house until 1964 when St Francis Theological College, who had occupied the surrounding area since 1936, took possession and Bishopsbourne was moved to Hamilton.

The stone chapel alongside Old Bishopsbourne was designed by RD Dods and constructed in 1912.  Both building celebrate the salmon-coloured sandstone endemic to Brisbane.

Venue is wheelchair accessible, however toilets in venue are not. There is an accessible toilet located very close by in the admin building.

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You can find a copy of the program here. 

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