Workshare volunteer #1
If urban farming, market gardening or farming in general is something you’re pursuing, and are on the path towards becoming, and you have a day a week you’d like to spend volunteering to learn some skills and knowledge, let’s have a chat and see whether spending time around Spoke & Spade could be useful for both of us.
Firstly, can you commit to one day (Fridays) per week/fortnight over 3 - 6 months+ (i.e. a min 12 working days)?
I’ve had a lot of people come through the farm over the past 2 years, and this year I’m interested in opening up my work & home to invest time into sharing with folks that are planning to sell produce rather than self-sufficiency / kitchen gardening. I love that too, but this workshare volunteer is really about trying to see you bounce into selling produce or starting career involved around urban farming or small scale market gardening.
I tend towards sharing a lot of content and so will work closely with people who do volunteer. I like to showcase my respect and gratitude for any work, with that transference of knowledge but also with a small box of our farm produce. The real exchange i suppose is knowledge, skills, networking, resources and learning from mistakes I’ve already made, that you don’t need to! I like to try offer morning tea and celebrate lunch most days, sometimes, its a bit chaotic with 3 urban properties to work at, and actually get shit done, as well as coordinate lunch… so being okay to go with the flow is helpful, and sometime’s I’ll ask you to bring a packed lunch instead etc.
Fridays look like they are the day!
If you cannot make this day, please submit the day you can, and if 2-3 + people select that day, I’ll consider adding or changing it. Best to put forward your best days and then days that still may work for you.
Start / End Hours are 9:30am - 4:30pm (or 7 hrs).
So if you are interested to work and learn with me (Sim) one day a week/fortnight (min 12 days) answer the form at bottom of page.
I think it’s best for me as the farmer, and you too, to work together with a couple people at a time, so I normally wait until 2 people to say they’re in!
So far 12+ people have filled out this form. Please don’t expect an immediate reply back from your form… msg me on Instagram if you’re needing a more immediate reply to inform your circumstances. I’m juggling family commitments, 2 days at another urban farm job alongside this business. Please note: in offering a workshare, it’s in one perspective, more work than assistance to me…however, I’m super keen to see more farmers start, learn how to do it and I’m super interested to start creating bigger change! :) look forward to hearing from you
What's volunteering workshare involve?
There's a lot you can learn over 12 days of involvement, so if you're keen to learn how to garden on scale, or start your own urban or larger farm, I think this is a good run through in skill building as I've only just started myself and open to sharing the steps, challenges and successes.
Bring: Hat, outdoor clothing, a jacket for post harvest washing and boots that can get grubby.
I am quite open for sharing and to questions, I'll try my best to assist your interests, however progressed, into gardening/urban farming/market gardening. If you're volunteering with others, they're often a bonus source of information and potential collaboration too. My farm book collection is open for borrowing.
As you volunteer we can cover these topics (and more) to the best of my knowledge.
Bed Preparation & Soil/fertilizer management
Direct Seeding (tools)
Pest management (likely with a local entomologist I barter with)
Harvest - techniques, equipment.
Selling (CSA, Farmer's Market, Wholesale)
Marketing & Social Media
Finance/business and the world of spreadsheets (I'll share open book if this is helpful).
At least 1hr working through your plans if you have any you want to work through.
Resources (supplier lists, online courses, books/channels)
Regenerative, Biodynamic, Organic agriculture. I'm young and quite new but have a little knowledge on these methods and am interested in these topics.
Lunch is about an 45min-1hr and we often have fresh baked bread, fresh goats milk and a farm outside for vegetables and home made condiments. Sometimes we'll cook up something. Lunch is a great time for in-depth questions or just chilling out but I’ll get ya’s to assist prep making tea, cutting veggies, picking baby spinach and generally setting or cleaning up for lunch.
You're welcome to listen to your own audiobooks/podcasts/music if you want your own space whilst working too. Introverts welcomed as well as extroverts.
Activities we might get up to are: Seeding, Greenhouse work, Direct seeding, Transplanting, Harvesting, Washing, Packing, Weeding, Preparing soil-work, Cleaning up the yard, Sharpening tools, discussing strategies/decisions, forward (bring an active brain as I'll ask you questions too) and much more.
We’re having a tour on Sep 22/2019’ with CERES - more details coming soon - see their website for updates
Consults / Help :
I can do urban farm advice for growers (who plan to sell their food). It’s $35/per hr at our location or $50/per hr at your location (assuming you’re around Melbourne).
Email me at Spokeandspade@gmail.com
Would you be keen on a 1 - day (6hr) Summer intensive workshop (cost might be $120-$200) on backyard farming / market gardening?
This is just an idea, but I’m open to facilitating it if I get 8+ people.
Email me to express your interest (and what topics you’d like covered).
Casual volunteering #2
We’re full with volunteering casually at the moment - but I’d highly recommend getting involved with CERES Market Garden Joe with Farmer Em, who is an absolute legend with a team of fun folks to be around.
You can also check out Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) to see more farms, hobby farmers who might offer hands on experience here in Australia or abroad!
Lastly, check out https://agtalent.training/ to see an Australian platform for learning experiences if you’re really keen to get involved in urban farming, market gardening or farming abroad.