In 2015, Greater Melbourne’s 4.37 million people required about 15,080 tonnes of food per day, about 3.45kg per person. 41% of this food come from Melbourne's “foodbowl”, areas of agricultural land on the fringes of the city. By 2050, Melbourne will require 60% more food, about 24,132 tonnes of food per day, to feed its predicted population of 7 million.*
How do we feed a growing city were urban sprawl is encroaching on productive land? Part of the solution is an increase in urban agricultural projects that harness the power of local communities, use marginal and disused urban land and decentralise food systems.
CERES Urban Agriculture Micro-Buiness tour proudly showcases three businesses at the forefront of Melbourne's slowly-but-surely growing urban agriculture movement. This tour will take you to backyard operations of Spoke & Spade (Heidelberg), the Strettle Street Market Garden (Thornbury) and the Mushroomery (Brunswick/Alphington)
During this tour you will learn about the ins and outs of running an urban ag businesses: Crop planning, selling and marketing, tools, business models, growing crops and mushrooms, harvesting, troubleshooting issues as they arise and the future plans of the farms.
Also included will be a tool demonstration at Spoke & Spade, harvesting and packing demonstration at Strettle Street Market Garden and a hands on experience of preparing a mushroom bucket for growing at The Mushroomery.
*Stats from Melbourne’s Food Bowl Report by UniMelb, 2015 https://research.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/2355155/Melbournes-Foodbowl-Now-and-at-seven-million.pdf
Bio of Businesses:
Spoke & Spade
Starting to farm his Heidelberg front and backyard late 2017 in a rental property, Sim (28) from Spoke & Spade, now grows across three sites covering 750m2 (with 100 x 7.5m x 0.75m beds) in organic food production. He sells veggie boxes through a local $30 veg box subscription and delivers some on a bike. Keen to see more urban growers and farmers, Sim happily shares his farm start-up knowledge and how he went from a background with no growing history to full time farmer in the hope to inspire other urban dwellers to grow more sellable quantities of fresh food for local communities. Join us for an urban farm tour with salad the size your lawn and tricks with a market gardener to take home to better grow on your patch of sun! See more at www.spokeandspade.com or @spokeandspade
Strettle Street Market Garden is an urban farm with two locations: Thornbury and Fairfield. Co-farmed by Lucille Kelly and Pippa Arnold, Strettle St Market Garden provides people in the local community with weekly boxes of fresh, locally grown vegetables. Lucille and Pippa believe that there should be more options for people living in an urban area to access and support local agriculture. Strettle St Market Garden is their contribution to the movement to re-localise Melbourne's food system and promote small-scale sustainable farming. Strettle St Market Garden follows organic farming practises and is inspired by permaculture principles and the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. Lucille and Pippa have had one successful season and are about to head into their second season. @strettlestreetmarketgarden
Buttons is the sole farmer at The Mushroomery. The Mushroomery is a micro mushroom farm she set up in her backyard. The little farm supplies two restaurants and a farm gate from time to time with tasty oyster mushrooms. She is influenced by the ethics and principles of Permaculture. She is working on closing multiple loops of waste within her farm. Buttons is a keen believer in maximizing marginal land in the city with urban agriculture. Being a massive foodie she is keen on making farming more visible in the city to create better understanding around food within the urban bubble. Buttons is a weird and wacky lady with roots in performance and costume design. She has been making a transition from fashion to farming in the last 5 years. She hopes that in the future she will be able to delve further into the research of mycological fabrics. She believes that Mycelium can help solve a multitude of problems facing Mother Earth today! @themushroomery
- Ins and outs of running an urban ag businesses
- Crop planning, selling and marketing, tools, business models
- Growing crops and mushrooms, harvesting, troubleshooting
- Hands on experience of preparing a mushroom bucket for growing
- Knowledge and demonstrations from real urban ag businesses
- Note pad and pen
- Cash if you'd like to buy any fresh produce at Spoke & Spade
- Clean rubber gloves for mushroom demonstration
Comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and comfy shoes that can get muddy
Those interested in starting an Urban Agriculture Micro-Business
Vendor since 2013
CERES - Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, is an award winning, not-for-profit, sustainability centre located on 4.5 hectares on the Merri Creek in East Brunswick, Melbourne.
It is also a thriving community, an urban farm, Australia’s largest deliverer of environmental education, an event and conference venue and a place rich with social and cultural diversity. CERES is recognised as an international leader in community and environmental practice.
Built on a decommissioned rubbish tip that was once a bluestone quarry, today CERES is a vibrant eco-oasis. 350,000 people visit CERES each year. Many more engage with us through our Sustainable Schools program which takes sustainable education into schools across the state.
CERES’ green technology displays, buildings, education and training programs and social enterprises (CERES’ Organic Market, Café, Permaculture Nursery and Fair Food organics delivery) demonstrate food security, sustainable agriculture, energy efficiencies, renewables and water conservation in action.
CERES is a model for a future with sustainability, innovation and connectedness at its heart.
Come, be welcome, you never know what you will find on our rambling paths.