A new direction for The Orchard Keepers...

We are exploring a new community-focused way to run the orchards at the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op (trading as "The Orchard Keepers").

There have been orchards on this farm growing fruit for the local community for almost 150 years, and we want to keep it that way!

We have lots of ideas and exciting possibilities, but before we settle on a plan for the 2023/24 fruit season, we want your feedback.

Thanks in advance for helping us to evolve our beautiful organic orchards into a new model.

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* 1. One of our ideas is to run an Orchard Incubator course. It's based on the long-running Pop-up Garlic Farmer program (PUGF) in Melbourne.

The PUGF program charges participants $1890 and includes 8 weekend workshops, land access, and support to grow a small crop of garlic.

We envisage the Orchard Incubator course would include a mix of skills workshops and hands-on learning in our orchard. 

We envisage the program running for 6 months from November to April.

Would you potentially be interested in an "orchard incubator" course to learn how to grow organic fruit?

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* 2. The next three questions are about the Orchard Incubator course, so please skip to Q5 if you're not interested in doing the course.

The course will include at least 1 day's work on the farm (or two half-days), probably on Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you were to sign up for the course, how many days would you be able/willing to commit to working in the orchard?

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* 3. Course participants who work 1 day/week on-farm could receive 250 kg of fruit plus access to a market where they can sell the fruit to recoup their course fees. Two days of work/week = 500 kg of fruit. They would also be able to buy more fruit at a low wholesale price.

  Yes No No preference Maybe (please explain why in the text box)
Would you be interested in selling fruit at a market?
Would you want to do the same market each week throughout the season?
Would you prefer to be on a roster and do different markets each week?
Would you rather be connected with a fruit shop who may sponsor part or all of your course fees in exchange for receiving fruit?

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* 4. If you'd be interested in an Orchard Incubator course, how much would you be willing to pay?  

We envisage inviting participants to pay what they can in a range from $1,750 – $2,500. Those who can afford to pay more will be supporting others to pay less while still ensuring that The Orchard Keepers are also sustained in their stewardship of the orchard.

1,750 2,500
i We adjusted the number you entered based on the slider’s scale.

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* 5. This year we'll once again be offering Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership.

CSA is a risk-sharing model that involves paying upfront at the beginning of the season for your fruit. This year we're considering two options:

(1)  Pick-Your-Own (PYO) Season Ticket: Prices start at $4/kg (depending on quantity of fruit you pre-purchase)
(2) Picked-For-You Boxes: Two sizes available (3.5 and 4.5 kg) with various pick-up options

The farm may be open for 3 days each week, e.g., Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday for PYO and pick-up of pre-ordered boxes.

  Yes No Maybe (please explain in the text box)
Would you be interested in subscribing to a CSA "picked for you" box?
Would you be interested in subscribing to a Pick-Your-Own Season Ticket?
Have you subscribed to the fruit CSA previously?
Would you be interested in a full or partial labour exchange for your CSA share (i.e. volunteering rather than paying money)?

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* 6. From best to worst, rank the following options for which suit you best to collect (or pick) your fruit.

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* 7. We're thinking of holding regular volunteer days each week.

This is a chance for people to connect with their local organic farm, have fun outdoors with a team of awesome people, and learn fruit-growing skills.

It could also be an exchange for your CSA membership.

Jobs may include thinning, picking, sorting fruit, monitoring for fruit fly, putting out nets, helping to run pick-your-own, etc.

To ensure the volunteer program works for you and we still get our work done efficiently, we need people to volunteer for specific times.

If you were interested in volunteering, which of the following shifts would work best for you?

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* 8. If you love the idea of volunteering, we'd love to know why! (Rank these reasons with the most important at the top.)

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* 9. Do you want a job this summer?

We'll also be employing some part-time casual staff to help on the orchard this year, so please let us know if you're interested, and your availability.

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* 10. Would you like to know more?

If you're interested in being connected with our organic orchard this summer and want to know more, please enter your name and email address below, and we'll be in touch!