Spoke and Spade is an urban farm growing vegetables for a hyper-local community.
As an urban farm, we grow a new story for people to eat and connect to the place they live and the farmer they purchase food from.
Our aim is to encourage connection & change through food. We hope to create food resilience and access to healthy nutrient dense food in a more local economy allowing a greater sense of place in community. As an Aus urban farm pilot, we also aim to share market gardening as a positive lifestyle & career choice, showcasing methods on how to earn a living wage (on leased land) growing food. We pursue to change, advocate challenge and regenerate the food system locally and abroad, acknowledging an on-coming climate emergency and wish to a act in a way that is consistent with a hopeful future.
So we plant, grow & harvest or pack with a clothesline out the back and provide healthy, local, fresh produce. Following organic principles, on three urban sites covering just under 1/4th acre growing space, we produce weekly $30 veggie boxes for about 30-50 families depending on the season/year.
Spoke & Spade hopes to celebrate farmers, soil, food & community health.
What methods do we use?
We follow organic principles and hope to nurture soil life to create to healthy food. We grow without nasty chemicals and prioritise Aus Certified Organic inputs. We are not certified organic. The urban farm has had its soil tested to check our garden's produce is safe from heavy metal contamination.
We use a range of techniques and appropriate market garden equipment seeking biological systems for organic production to create high yields in our small spaces.
Who works at Spoke & Spade?
When I say we, I mostly mean me (Simeon), but 'we' does have a nice ring to it...
You, as you participate in traditional and sustainable food systems
The amazing soil which does the majority of "work"
Locals who "own" and entrust land for me to grow food on
"The hood", a group of local Heidelberg West residents pursuing retrosuburban ways of living for a sustainable future and support me through trade & barter rather than money
Friends who volunteer time and eat the freshest food in exchange
Farmers who mentor me
The movement towards a more sustainable future
Why an urban farm?
When I see a lawn, I think, why grow grass when you could grow vegetables?
I want kids to know carrots grow in the ground and for small businesses to thrive alongside the people they serve.
I’m a connected to cities, my family lives here, and there’s great potential for change (alongside population). Urban farms have a visible face. I’m young, landless and alternative forms of tiny land leasing in the city seemed an easy first step to starting without moving or signing acreage, so i dug up my front yard to showcase what I could do… 2 more blocks & several other offers later… I’ve got heaps of space to grow. You don’t need that much land to find yourself busy in intensive, small scale organic/bio-intensive methods. It can also be profitable when done well as several others growers are showcasing internationally. Urban farming is also a little unique - so its a good story. And i’m all about story as a method for social change. Originally, I was studying to be a sports teacher but opted out of that story arc after listening to climatologists feelings and news re: climate change. I wanted to opt into something directly & rationally involved in hopeful future, so I started more conversations about food because of regenerative agriculture’s potential to Drawdown and solve issues that also had a fresh & positive story. Which we all need more off. The future of food could be great.
I spent a couple months travelling in India, Nepal & Indonesia observing urban agriculture & amazed at the creativity to grow food almost anywhere and how some farmers carried tools and produce on bicycles. Sparked by their ingenuity, I hope to re-imagine what local living in urban environments could look like, for the business owner/employee and customer, so I pursue delivering and travelling locally via bicycle to local customers or farm plots as much as possible.
These interests in sustainable agriculture, alternative economics & creating resilient communities inspired me to create Spoke & Spade..
Mossy Willow & Longley Organic
I'm inspired by good soil health, to grow good healthy food, for a healthy planet and people!
Mikey & Keren at Mossy Willow are beautifully showcasing an Australian model for regenerative agriculture with style!
James at Longley Organic farm is a champion and advocate for better small scale biological farm systems. I've appreciated access to better tools and information through his website www.activevista.com.au and work in soil testing following similar work by Australian/U.S author, Steve Solomon who writes about intelligent gardening, soil health and re-mineralising for nutrient dense food.
Curtis Stone (Canada)
A lot of my farm model is based from Curtis' work and content he shares on youtube, podcasts, courses and his book, The Urban Farmer.
And no, he's not the chef.
Other online resources:
Jean Martin Fortier: Book: The Market Gardener
Ben Hartman: Book: The Lean Farm
Farmer to Farmer podcast
Farm Smart Farm Small podcast
Neversink Farm (youtube)
Transition Farm (Victoria)
I volunteered 3 months at this Biodynamic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in 2013 & then spent the next 4 years scheming how I would start my own ...
I live & work on what always was and always will be the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nations.
I acknowledge the First Peoples, traditional custodians who nurtured and loved the land and waterways for thousands of years. They also farmed well, and had systems of food production which have been purposively unacknowledged. I pay my deep respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging, and acknowledge that Indigenous sovereignty has never been ceded.