UTAS Sustainability is committed to supporting staff and students to access fresh, local and nutritious produce on all UTAS campuses to improve food security, increase local food production and reduce food miles.
There are a number of sustainable food-related initiatives happening on campus, including, but not limited to, food gardens.
There are five food gardens located in the North: four at Newnham and one at Inveresk.
Designed and constructed by School of Architecture and Design students, the ‘Off-ground’ project provides staff, students and community on the Inveresk campus with a new ‘vegie patch’ in which to grow and harvest produce. These raised garden beds are located to the rear of the School of Architecture and Design.
There are three productive and one educational/cultural food gardens on the Newnham campus.
- 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.
- Community garden: A student-led community garden (100m2) is also located on the campus’ western boundary, a short walk from the Library (<100m). It has a formal glasshouse for seedlings and an automatic water pumping system. Volunteers grow oregano, sage, basil, tomato, kale and other seasonal produce on site. The produce from the community garden and the Heritage Orchard is sent to the Food Co-op shop and other societies to support students.
- 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. 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.
In the North West, there are four food gardens located across the Cradle Coast Campus, Makers' Workshop and the Rural Clinical School.
Cradle Coast Campus
There is a small vegetable garden (1 X 2m), originally set up by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) to promote farm-bot technologies. The garden is now managed by the Faculty of Education for two purposes:
- To teach University students how to grow vegetables
- To demonstrate to Education students how they could use a food garden to teach school children in the future
A University researcher interested in indigenous food plants is growing native edible trees around this vegetable garden. Students living in campus accommodation collect and compost their own food waste.
The Makers' Workshop garden beds include some special plants grown specifically for paper production.
Rural Clinical School
The Rural Clinical School has a small food garden that medical students are encouraged to be involved in.
There are five food gardens in Hobart: one on the Sandy Bay Campus, one at the University City Apartments, and three others at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona site.
Source Community Wholefoods is a café, wholefood grocer and community garden (620 m2) supplying fresh, local produce to staff, students and the general public. This co-operative was set up eleven years ago on land rented from the University for the purpose of creating a healthy community with sustainable economic and environmental values. Volunteers plant a variety of annual vegetables in raised garden beds and perennial fruit trees. Crop rotation is practised to reduce the incidence of disease and food scraps are turned into garden fertiliser through a series of worm farms. Source is located a short walk west of the Morris Miller Library (<250m).
University City Apartments community garden: The shared student-public plaza area at the University City Apartments in the centre of the Hobart Central Business District supports a growing assortment of raised 'wicking-style' garden beds growing a variety of herbs, vegetables, berries and indigenous plants. Also in this space are linear on-ground garden beds supporting a citrus hedge with alternating types of citrus that produce fruit in our climate as well as beds supporting rosemary and lavender. Both students and community members participate in wicking bed construction, planting, and harvesting activities as a way to bring the university and broader communities together.
There are three food gardens at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona site.
- Herb garden: A small herb garden (90 m2) at the front of IMAS Taroona is home to rosemary, bay and olive trees. Other edible plants and plants that support local wildlife are grown in this garden.
- Individual plots: There are twenty individual plots (120 m2) to the east of the Administration building that staff can apply to grow food in.
- Internal courtyard: An internal courtyard hosts a communal garden (150 m2), where staff are encouraged to take their breaks.