Joe’s Market Garden is a two-acre plot of land in Coburg, right on the banks of Merri Creek. Operated by Brunswick not-for-profit farm Ceres since 2003, it sells fresh fruit and veg to the local community at its farmgate, and supplies produce for Ceres’ Fair Food delivery service.

On Saturday the garden will serve its last customers face-to-face, with the farmgate shutting for good. Ceres will continue to manage Joe’s and grow food there, but the public won’t be able to buy its produce directly.

Ceres CEO Cinnamon Evans delivered the news on ABC Radio on Monday morning, citing financial pressure.

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“Unfortunately the whole operating model at Joe’s is not financially sustainable,” she said. “The changes may affect some people’s jobs and we’re talking with the team about that. We’re still exploring our options and haven’t made any firm decisions.
“Our plan is to take a break over winter and really focus on farming and we’ll get back to everyone when the weather becomes warmer and we know what a sustainable model looks like.”

Local resident Dave Hall attends the farmgate regularly and says he values it as an important community hub.

“It’s so much more than produce and coffee, it has concerts, bush kindergartens, yoga sessions, live mic nights and so many other events that bring the community together,” he tells Broadsheet. “The farmgate is so unique, it’s unlike any other place I’ve known.”

Hall and other locals have started Facebook and Instagram pages to rally support for keeping the farmgate and its coffee caravan open.

“We want to talk to Ceres and share how much people care about this. A compromise of only keeping the farmgate open on Saturdays or just on weekends would be ideal so we can keep our community hub,” he says. “Ceres said this may just be for winter and they will assess in spring but once you shut something like this down, it’s going to be very hard to get it going again,” he said.

Hall and his fellow campaigners want to get as many people as possible to the farm on May 27, its final day, to show how important it is to the community.

“This closure has really come out of the blue,” he says. “The farm has a huge amount of community support we need to use to help save it.”

Joe’s Market Garden
34 Edna Grove, Coburg
(03) 9389 0100

Thu to Sat 8.30am–1pm

Joe’s will close to the public on May 27.