Communal Urban Food for Townhouses


Apartments are springing up everywhere it seems and developers are keen to lure potential buyers with all sorts of sustainability claims. Few developments though have meaningful ways of sustaining residents with food due to the space and effort typically required.

A new townhouse development in Ascot Vale, Melbourne, call St Leonards Road ( has combined great eco building technology with the latest in vertical wicking gardens for food production to sustain the residents with fresh herbs and vegetables all year round.

At the St Leonards Road development, residents will be able to come home, park their bike and pick their own herbs and greens for eating on their way into their Townhouse saving time and reducing food miles to mere metres.

Biofilta has worked with the team at Neil Architecture ( to design a garden using the water and space efficient vertical Foodwall system that will produce over 120kg of vegetables and herbs every year. Organic herbs can cost as much as $35/kg in the shops which gives the residents a financial return of up to $4,200 p.a. and a capital payback within 3 years.

Water collected from the roof is captured in tanks and this water is then used to grow food. This combination has the dual benefit of helping to sustain the residents and harness the soluble Phosphorus and Nitrogen that falls from the roof, made available as fertiliser for the plants that would otherwise been seen as a pollutant to our waterways.

Because the Foodwall system is vertical, it effectively doubles the growing area of small spaces such as the side of a development. Freshly grown food tastes better than imported food and dramatically reduces the organic waste when you only take what you need for a meal and leave the rest growing in the garden.

Our team will also offer a quarterly “Urban Farmer” service to check on the health of the plants, teach residents how to grow the best veggies and provide seedlings for replanting each season.

The display suite already has a sample Foodwall system growing food and is proudly featured as a key entry statement. It took less than 1 hour to install and will sustain the plants for over 2 weeks between watering.