Food and gardens

The University has an important role to play in supporting the sustainable development of the food and agricultural sector in this state through research, development, extension and education.

01 No Poverty02 Zero Hunger03 Good Heath and Well-Being12 Responsible Consumption and Production13 Climate Action

If done well, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred development and protecting the environment.

Our University also has a social responsibility to ensure the eradication of poverty and hunger especially as it relates to student well-being. According to Universities Australia's 2017 Student Finances Survey, one in seven students across Australia regularly go without food and other necessities because they cannot afford them. We are therefore committed to improving the wellbeing of all students through ensuring the availability of affordable, nutritious food on campus whilst minimising the environmental impacts of its production and consumption. The growing, processing, packaging, transportation (so-called ‘food-miles’), sale and consumption of food all produce greenhouse gas emissions associated with anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change. According to the United Nations, over one-third of the world’s food is wasted.

Our commitment to food and gardens

The University of Tasmania is committed to enabling staff and students to choose sustainable food options on campus.

Sustainable Food Principles and Strategy

The University of Tasmania’s Sustainable Food Systems working group is currently developing a University position on sustainable food on campus. This work will ultimately inform the development of a strategy seeking to improve food security, increase local food production and procurement reduce food miles, and will be guided by our existing sustainable food strategic principles (PDF 520KB):

  • Prioritise Tasmanian-grown, ethical, fresh and in-season food
  • Eating in Place by focusing on retaining or creating sites that contribute positively to student experience
  • Procure local by preferencing and promoting Tasmanian suppliers
  • Prioritise suppliers with health, nutrition and sustainability initiatives
  • Attract small-scale, affordable, commercially viable and market driven pricing
  • Outlets will not be exclusive nor subsidised, they will be commercially viable and meet student affordability
  • Bring the learnings and expertise together in a Food Charter co-designed by staff and students
  • Sustainability will be embedded; particularly with packaging, food security and reduction of waste to landfill

Sustainable procurement

The University of Tasmania's Procurement Policy supports the University’s values and guides behaviour in relation to all operational and research procurement related activities, including food service providers.

In line with the University's Statement of Values all procurement activity must endeavour to address social, environmental, safety and sustainability considerations. To assist staff in their decision making and to inform suppliers of our criteria a Sustainable Procurement Guide has been developed and is published at Procurement.

Our sustainable food options and initiatives

There are a number of edible gardens, orchards, food allotments and even individual trees from which you can source fresh food on campus. Some are open to all staff and students, whilst access to others is limited.

The University is committed to supporting staff and students to access fresh, local and nutritious produce on all University of Tasmania campuses to improve food security, increase local food production and reduce food miles.

There are also a number of sustainable food-related initiatives happening on campus, including, but not limited to, food gardens.

Inveresk Community Garden
Inveresk Community Garden


  • Inveresk Community Garden: The flagship University of Tasmania community garden project is the vast community garden situated at the entrance to the brand-new campus at Inveresk in Launceston. With more than 30 large raised beds, the garden could almost be considered an urban farm. Once fully operational, it will produce tonnes of fruit and vegetables annually, nearly all of which will be consumed within 500m of where it was produced, thus greatly reducing the ‘food miles’ required to feed the students living in nearby residential colleges. An in-vessel composting machine receives up to 75kg of food scraps, garden waste and office waste per day, averting methane-emitting materials from landfill and turning them into rich organic compost for use in the garden.
    Get UniMap directions


  • Heritage Orchard: The Heritage Orchard (1,900m2) is located along the western boundary of the campus, just downhill from the Australian Maritime College. It contains apricot, peach, plum, pear and apple trees and is maintained by staff. A recent Sustainability Integration for Students (SIPS) project focused on the orchard, with the aim of helping University of Tasmania increase the orchard’s capacity to produce fruit for students and staff on the Newnham campus to share. Workshops on pruning are held annually and students help harvest and distribute fruit.
  • Tamar Lane Community garden: Through the dedication and hard work of Gardening Society students, the once-neglected garden on Tamar Lane in Newnham has been transformed into one of the most productive community gardens at UTAS. In summer, nearly 30 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruit and edible flowers (borage, nasturtiums, calendulas and sunflowers) are grown, with winter cropping consisting primarily of brassicas and leafy greens. Produce is shared amongst Gardening Society members and with other students on campus, with excess provided to a campus café in exchange for free meals.
    Get UniMap directions
  • Herb garden: There is also a small herb garden (6m2) managed by students living at the Kerslake Hall accommodation.
  • Riawunna Centre indigenous garden: The Riawunna Centre has an indigenous garden with an educational and cultural focus. The garden is open to the public and visitors can view a number of plant types all with significance in the Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, including food plants, medicinal plants, industry plants (string making, basket weaving) and cultural calendar markers (e.g. when the snakes are out, start of spring, time for harvesting a particular plant). A proposal is currently in development to document these indigenous plants with the view to developing an interpretation trail. This information will also aid in the propagation of those plants for future use at Inveresk as part of the Northern Transformation project (and in other parts of the state as appropriate). This proposal may extend to the development of other initiatives, such as healing gardens/ circles, essential oils and food production.


Our progress

Catering contracts

A recent multi-directional review of our University’s catering contract has provided an opportunity to embed sustainability principles into our catering contracts.

Local food procurement

Our University is working with community partners to progress opportunities for the procurement of local food and the development of a circular economy in our island state. Led by Eat Well Tasmania, this research and Tasmanian food sector engagement project seeks to influence the current policy environment to better support the procurement of Tasmanian seasonal food within Tasmania.

Get involved

There are many ways you can advocate for and/or access affordable, nutritious food or grow more of your own produce on campus or in your community:

  • Participate in the Sustainability Integration Program for Students (SIPS) with a sustainable food and/or garden related project.
  • Share your thoughts and ideas on what a ‘University of Tasmania Sustainable Food Strategy’ could look like with Sandra Murray, Lecturer Food Science, Nutrition and Public Health, School of Health Science
  • Attend a free UTASLife barbecue or cooking class on campus
  • Find a community garden on campus or close to home where you can volunteer your time in return for the best and freshest local produce
  • Grow your own food at home, no matter how big or small your garden is. Read Peter Cundall’s advice on what to grow when in Tasmania. If you only have room for a few pots, then check out Sustainable Gardening Australia’s advice on container gardening.

Get in touch

Do you have a query or feedback about 'food and gardens' at the University of Tasmania? We would love to hear from you.