Skip to content

Food and gardens

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.

The University of Tasmania 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. 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.

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 as part of an overall catering strategy. This working group involves academic and professional staff, whose work includes cuts across university operations, e.g. catering contracts and other food-related activities on campus, to research, learning and teaching. This group aims to establish a Food Charter. 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

University of Tasmania Strategic Plan 2019-2024

The University has a strong tradition in environmental education and research, as well as contributing to greater awareness of the importance of sound environmental management in the broader community. Consistent with this, the University has a focus on best practice management of the impact that University operations have on the environment. This is reflected in the University of Tasmania Strategic Plan 2019-2024 which outlines our commitment to improving the environmental sustainability of Tasmania in the following ways:

  • "Land – the responsible use of our agricultural resources and the sustainable management of our island’s unique ecosystems and waterways;
  • Air – reducing carbon emissions and increasing the awareness of the effects of climate change;
  • Sea – preserving our oceans, promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and reducing ocean waste and pollution."

Procurement Policy

The University of Tasmania's Procurement Policy governs all University procurement related activity and outlines the commercial approach adopted by the University to manage the acquisition of goods and services from vendors, contractors and suppliers.

In line with the University's Statement of Values all procurement activity must endeavour to address the following social, environmental, safety and sustainability considerations:

  • Procurement decisions must first consider the use of existing University resources, facilities and expertise
  • All procurement decisions will reflect value for money, not limited to price, consider sustainable and ethical principles including managing the risk of modern slavery, and maximise opportunities for local suppliers
  • Contract owners must ensure value is managed through the full lifecycle of the contract


STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System)

In 2019, the University of Tasmania commenced using STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) to monitor its sustainability performance. Relevant food categories within STARS include food and beverage purchasing and sustainable dining. The latter category incorporates sustainable food systems support and food and dining waste minimisation 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.

Sustainable food options and initiatives on campus

Catering contracts

A multi-directional review of our University’s catering contract is currently in progress. This provides an opportunity to embed sustainability principles into our catering contracts that are coming up for renewal.

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.

You can browse the list of completed Sustainability Integration Program for Students (SIPS)  projects, grants and awards to find University's sustainable food and garden initiatives.

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 ‘UTAS 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.

For more information on food and gardens at UTAS, contact