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Caption: Nickolas Varvaris MP at the Rockdale Chinese Farm
On Thursday of last week, I visited a traditional Chinese vegetable farm in Rockdale in the presence of councillors and notable members of the Chinese community.
This farm has been operating for more than 20 years as a family business, growing Chinese vegetables, wintermelons and bananas using specialist growing practices.
But beyond its twenty years of operation, the farm represents a far greater period of time that Asian market gardens have thrived in challenging Australian conditions.
Chinese market gardens have operated in the Rockdale area since the 19th century and form an integral part of the atmosphere and history of the area.
At a time when drought often threatened European-style farms and market gardens, Sydneysiders could rely on these traditional Chinese farms for fresh produce.
Today, the farmers in Rockdale are striving to meet the growing demand for Chinese groceries from the substantial Asian population in the area.
They spoke to me about the challenges facing such a specialised operation which requires particular knowledge, patience, and persistence.
Their farm represents the perseverance of a special element of Chinese culture in our multicultural environment.
As it is one of only a handful of traditional market gardens left after the dwindling of similar farms in North and Inner Sydney, it is a precious piece of living history.
I vow to do all I can to ensure the sustainability of this remarkable enterprise.