Catie goes free range with her mic to interview one of Melbourne’s best loved urban farmers: Simeon Ash from Spoke & Spade and Collingwood Children's Farm.
Sit with us on a wooden bench in Sim’s city plot, freshly planted with broad beans, garlic and greens, as we chat about the realities of small-scale farming in Australia’s second largest city. (Don’t mind the occasional plane or magpie serenade.)
Sim has been leading the charge in urban ag for years, better known as ‘that guy who turned the front yard of his rental into a market garden’ following a Curtis Stone-style approach.
Without owning any land himself, Sim has tended numerous backyard farms in inner-suburban Melbourne, offering CSA veggie boxes (delivered by electric bike!) to his local community, plus a heckload of inspiration to aspiring growers.
We talk educational pathways, finances, unexpected pests (and their excrement) and the power of surrounding yourself with a believable solution to the impossible issues of our time.
- Why backyard growing is so much more than food production
- Compost as the gateway to the interconnectedness of nature and human systems
- Completing a permaculture design course to 'join the dots’ on systems
- Finding good people who have already done what you want to do - then copying them.
- Setting yourself up as an urban micro farmer ain't straightforward!
- Striking relationships with people who have spare space and are eager to see it productive.
- Making the business viable via a CSA model
- Trawling google maps to find unused empty blocks and hitting up the landlords for a dual relationships.
- How food is as political as it is connective.
- Front yards > backyards
- Seeking permission to use rental properties for micro businesses .
- Setting up a farmgate on your verge
- Going to the ‘dark side’ of facebook to engage his community
- Making crust with values intact - honest insights into the financial reality of urban farming.
- Simplicity as the baseline for this life.
- Acknowledging his ‘underserved position of privilege’.
- A vision of Melbourne being a leading hub of urban agriculture.
- Minimum viability scale of 2 hectares
- How life aspirations change with experience and time.
- Pests and poo in food production spaces
- Why time is your greatest asset as a market gardener
- Repeated existential crisis that lead to farming as his way of ‘doing something and being part of something that is positive'.
- We are at a time in history where we could sacrifice a little more
- "I’m 30 and Id like to see a future where I wont be so mad at myself for not doing anything."
- Being a human scale change-maker.
- Taking a leap which makes the leap for the next person less of a jump.
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