What's in a weekly box?
Boxes are crafted with 5-9 organically grown veggies picked and packed fresh for your pick up or bike delivery. You purchase for a 12 week period with nature determining what is ripe for your weekly box.
An example: Gourmet salad mix, Basil, Spring Onions, Baby Spinach, Greens bunch (kale or silverbeet), Carrots & lastly, Pumpkin grown by another organic farmer.
Start any week
Duration: 12 weeks of $30 produce
Pick up subscription = $360
Bike Delivery subscription* : $444
Value outside the box
Farming has risks. Box customers are champions of organic agriculture, food and local business. You're part of eating a different story. Your support over a long period gives me stability to get on with planting and growing knowing I've got tummies ready to feed from abundant ripe harvest. I believe this food story has a lot less waste too.
Veg box farming is also known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). If we get a great yield on our urban farming, you receive some of that overflow but, an early cold snap day means our first succession of summer goodies are at risk, and instead of the farmer taking all this risk, we all share. The model means the farmers are not isolated by natural outlying variables we can't plan for. In my experience working and seeing several other CSA farms, the customer often scores and the farmer is happy to be supported by the community. At Spoke & Spade, I’m working hard to capture your support and translate it to an abundance of goods returned.
I’m thankful to those who look & see problems with our conventional agricultural story in Melbourne and want to be a part of new ways of doing food, community and being agents of change to the environmental and social issues presented to us.
FAQ and How to Order below
Where can I order?
How do I pay?
We accept bank deposit & cash - after we know whose eating our food of course!
Pick up day?
Thursdays 4-7pm (or by arrangement afterward)
Can’t subscribe for 12 weeks?
Join the spare harvest list for spontaneous once off boxes.
What's in the box grown by Spoke & Spade - Changes with season.
Greens: Baby Spinach; Lettuce; Rocket; Kale; Silverbeet; Spinach & Salad mix variations
Herbs - Coriander, Parsley, Basil
Roots: Beetroot; Spring Onion, Shallots, Japanese Turnip, Green Onion & Carrots!
Summer fruits: Zucchini, Tomatoes, Cucumber
We prioritise growing crops that are easy to use and super tasty. We grow a rotation of items for the box so you can always look forward to next week too!
What's in the box from other farms or places?
Spoke & Spade mutually supports other farms or hobbyist’s to diversify our selection with a rotation of 6 seasonal staple items that we don't grow ourselves.
We will buy biodynamic, spray free or organic and as local as possible: Brown Onions, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Sweet Potato, Garlic, Oyster Mushrooms.
Fruit: Sim may forage locallly for fresh fruit occasionally (particularly if we're short on produce). This could be figs, lemons, oranges, grapes etc.
If you have unused laden fruit trees, fill out the form above!
Tell me more about what is Community Supported Agriculture...
Here's a CSA charter that describes the relationship a bit more.
What's the Customer Sign Up Fee?
CSA's take involvement from the farmer to engage with customers and our local community and yet, we sell crops based on the price of that food without usually accounting for how a local farmer offers beyond this. To respect Sim's time as a CSA in starting and maintaining new members, engaging our neighbourhood community, offering farm tours & often highly personalised customer service, we're suggesting a $20 minimum annual contribution with up to $80 optional sliding scale for customers who think annual membership is worth more. The contribution fee is relevant to customers starting Spring 2018 and allows access to 3 subscriptions (Spring, Summer, Autumn) totalling 34 boxes from Oct 2018 through June 2019.
It is likely we could make more money selling to high end dining, restaurants, cafes or even some markets, however, small scale farming with food accessible to locals and minimal waste is what we'd like to see and champion as a sustainable model that communities also want to be involved in.
Is there concession availability?
We currently just offer to waive our customer sign up fee for concession card holders.
Where's Urban Farm Spoke & Spade food grown?
Across three urban farm sites in Heidelberg West, Heidelberg & Ivanhoe. Check out photo feed to see the latest pics.
Where does the extra organic/biodynamic produce come from?
This varies for each crop. Potatoes are planned to come from Trentham because I have a farm friend connection, and they're really good potatoes. We'll prioritise food miles as locally as we can.
With respect to the CSA charter, we will inform customers which items are not grown by Spoke & Spade and where they are sourced from.
*How do I know you can deliver to me?
Each week I deliver up to a 3-4km radius for bike delivery from Heidelberg West, depending how big your hill is...
Possible car drop off point in Brunswick (near Sweet Evelyn Cafe) with 4+ customer interest.
Further $10 car delivery drop off for pick up points where 4+ customers interested. Is this your School, Office, or Co-House?
How does a pick up point work?
One customer acts as a local pick up location for others boxes to save time or delivery costs - i.e. you live 15mins away but could set up a rotation with your friend to pick up alternative weeks or pay just the 1 delivery cost!
Have you tested your soil?
Yes, we've tested soil for a general analysis and for heavy metal contamination at all three Spoke & Spade plots, and naturally, we only grow when the results come back positive to grow! If you'd like a reading of these, feel free to ask. We also take precautionary measures to further reduce any risks such as building up compost organic matter & washing produce. We still recommend you wash garden grown produce and scrubbing or peeling root vegetables, as these have the biggest concern for ingesting heavy metals via dirt and not via the vegetable itself.
Building healthy soil and growing healthy food is what we're all about so we've also tested with the excellent help of Longely Organic Farm's Soil Doctor Service to assist us build our soil to grow nutrient dense food and minimize waste from fertilizer and run off. If you'd like a reading of these, feel free to ask.
Will there be another veggie box when the current subscription box concludes?
Yes. We aim to have another 12 week box ready for summer at $30 with more summer fruits like cucumbers, tomatoes & zucchini.
Is it organic?
More or less, I grow to say of course, yes! We are firm believers in sustainable & regenerative agricultural practices to grow and support people eating healthy food! Organic certification has complications our suburban block don't allow, so we grow with organic principles at the foundation and try do the best we can to grow "organic" food - chemical free. Extra farm produce will be bought if it is also grown organically or biodynamically produced.
Produce foraged or donated (i.e. fruit from a CSA member) has unknown factors to us, and we will still add these to the box if to the best of our knowledge are spray free etc.
What's the pricing?
We develop our prices by comparing farmer's market, supermarket conventional & organic and local grocery stores for each crop. We aim to be above conventional and below organic supermarket produce, and around other accredited Farmer's Markets small scale organic farmers. If you'd like the current price list, feel free to ask. We value and rate the quality of our produce and also the farmer's time/energy, and charge accordingly. We think it’s great value food.
What banking/energy/economy is Spoke & Spade responsible for?
We want to be part of creating a sustainable & fair economy. We bank with Bank Australia - a carbon neutral and a customer owned bank. When I eventually pay myself superannuation... I am with Australian Ethical Super (anti arms/fossil fuel/exploitive human labour investments). We purchase Green energy from Powershop, they're also carbon neutral. Otherwise, in spending, the business & I (Sim) personally try to purchase locally, use small business suppliers, sustainable sources and generally use money as a force for good - and try as we can. It's something we're passionate, excited and hopeful about. Woohoo! :)
What if I don't want an item, can I exchange it for something else?
Nah...but I'd encourage you to gift excess to a friendly neighbour. We may introduce a swap table at pick up for those with food allergies or preference where you can leave items you don't like, and pick up other items from fellow customers (we will offer this if customers ask for this). Sorry for this inconvenience but exchanging items for us rapidly becomes messy - so thanks for understanding and using more creativity.
Can i join anytime?
Yup - you can purchase a 12 week subscription any week at the moment.
What if I can't pick up my box or want to cancel?
Maybe you're on holidays, or have too much food in your own garden, however, the box works as a collaboration between farmer and customer and has planned for your long term taste bud support, therefore, you cannot cancel your box before the end of subscription. Instead, we encourage you find a friend to pick up your box or take on the remainder of your subscription. Just inform us, so we can help the new person.
If for some other reason you're not happy with your box, please contact us and we can discuss reimbursement if it is fair and chat about what's going on for you.
I can also gift your box to locals I know nearby, who love fresh food, but cannot afford or commit to a box for their own reasons. Food Swaps & Lentil As Anything's "Inconvenience Store" in Thornbury would also happily receive your fresh food donations.
I think I'm looking for something else: If you want a bigger veggie box, we love our farm friends down at Mossy Willow on the Peninsula who do a $50 city CSA box (+$10 delivery). If you want a veggie box to order weekly without subscription, we suggest you check out Ceres organic boxes ($6.75 delivery) grown from farms all over the shop.
Any questions, email or call me. Easy.
Simeon (or Sim) Hanscamp