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 connections through food. From farmers to families, neighbours to soil health and Nona's recipes - all upheld as an important part of life. We hope to create not just good food in the local economy, but a greater sense of place in community. As an urban farm pilot for profit in Melbourne, we hope to change, challenge and improve on food systems locally and abroad.
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 750m2 growing space, we produce weekly $30 veggie boxes for about 40-60 families depending on the season.
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
- Nature and 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 hoped to be part of creating resilient communities in the face climate change and provide healthy food for people and champion relevant issues with a creative positive story.
After spending time travelling in India, Nepal & Indo observing urban agriculture in another context, I was amazed and observed creativity where bicycles were used to transport most things including shovels and or to sell farm produce. Sparked by their ingenuity, I hope to re-imagine what local living looks like in Melbourne and pursue delivering and travelling locally via bicycle to my customers/farm plots.
These interests in sustainable agriculture, alternative economics & creating resilient communities inspired me to create Spoke & Spade..
*Some produce is garlic grown by a friend, potatoes grown by a farmer who have equipment and larger land that are more suited to these crops, or spare figs given by a lovely neighbour. In this sense, the village joins the farmer to further create community supported agriculture. Woohoo! The majority, however, is produce grown by me straight to you the buyer/supporter/legend!
Mossy Willow & Longley Organic
I'm inspired by good soil health, to grow good healthy food, for a healthy planet and people!
Mikey & Keryn 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. I pay my deep respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging, and acknowledge that Indigenous sovereignty has never been ceded.