News & Stories

Starting a food revolution on campus

Margaret McGowan is helping students eat healthier.


A student devoted to the benefits of healthy food is passing on her passion to others through an innovative society.

Margaret McGowan is studying a Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree and helped establish the UTAS Food Revolution Society in 2018.

The society provides food to students who need help accessing fresh produce due to budget, lack of transport, or lack of nutritional knowledge.

The UTAS Food Revolution Society began as a class project, but the demand was so strong a society was formed to ensure proper process and longevity after Margaret and other members of the committee have finished their University studies. The society currently has 150 members.

“We ran a cooperative shop throughout semester 2 during 2018, stocking essential items for students. We are in discussions to hopefully have the TUU run this service during 2019 because it became too big for our volunteers to manage last year.

We’ve also been working hard on creating and re-establishing vegetable gardens across the University and AMC campuses at Newnham.

Margaret McGowan, Bachelor of Nutrition Science.

“Some gardens were already there but hadn’t been looked after so we’ve been fitting watering systems and recruiting volunteers to manage the gardens - hopefully for years to come.”

There’s no doubting Margaret has a strong social conscience. She grew up in the suburb of Mundaring, in the Perth hills of WA. The urban sprawl of fast-food outlet developments in low socio-economic areas is one of the major reasons why Margaret intends to pursue a career in community nutrition.

“Low-income families are struggling to put healthy food on the table because of the increased cost of living such as rental costs, mortgages and utilities,” she said.

Margaret is due to graduate with her bachelor’s degree soon and she plans to move interstate to build on her expertise.

“I came to UTAS because I saw how hard it was for my two sisters who travelled over an hour each way to get to university in the city. I didn’t want to do that, so I researched other universities across Australia and made the decision to study at UTAS for lifestyle and financial reasons.

“I’ve loved it here in Tassie. I can escape to nature easily when I need a break from study and the culture at the Launceston campus is extremely supportive.

Moving to Tasmania to study was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

“It’s the perfect balance between city and country life.”

The decision has been a good one, not just for Margaret but for others. When she graduates, she will do so knowing her involvement in the Food Revolution Society has made a positive impact on the lives of so many other University students.

Interested in learning more about nutrition? Find out more about our new Food and Nutrition short courses - now available fully online.