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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 . 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 on the University’s Procurement webpage.

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 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.

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