UNUSED farmland in Western Sydney Parklands will be transformed into a showcase for urban farming under a master plan released on Sunday.
Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Barry O'Farrell announced that 159 hectares of farmland has been set aside for glasshouses, greenhouses, gardens and orchards in the Horsley Park precinct.
Mr O'Farrell said this would create 100 agricultural jobs and up to $45 million of "public and private investment in the local economy over the next 10 years".
"Under the plan, 11 farm lots will be leased ranging in size from five to 31 hectares," he said.
"This is a win for farmers as the high price of land and urban expansion has restricted the amount of land available for agriculture in western Sydney."
Mr O'Farrell also said the revamp would boost tourism.
"The Horsley Park farming precinct will become a popular tourist destination with a new farm gate trail created, allowing consumers to buy fresh produce directly from the people who grew it," he said.
Director of the parklands Suellen Fitzgerald told the Champion the planning for urban farming has been on the agenda since the parklands opened four years ago.
"The urban farming program will be creating opportunities to transform these lands and will protect our rural heritage," she said.
"This also caters to our community members who are becoming interested in farming, where our food comes from and also living sustainably."
Planning is already under way and Ms Fitzgerald said a number of farmers have already expressed their interest. She estimated it would take two years to rejuvenate the farmland. Check out the draft urban farming master plan at tinyurl.com/cm5crlq.