Published on 21 May 2015
The University of the Sunshine Coast’s Moving Feast community food garden – which will celebrate its first anniversary at the World Environment Day Festival on 7 June – is proving to be a perfect classroom for teaching about sustainability and food security.
Project manager Angela Cleary, who teaches Community and Public Health Nutrition at USC, said food security was about all people at all times having access to food which is healthy, culturally appropriate and affordable.
“A local example could be some of our international students feeling quite food insecure because they can’t drive to the supermarket, or when they get there all the food is different, so they may not know what to buy or how to prepare it,” Ms Cleary said.
“A while back some of my students ran nutrition focus groups and found that many students felt there was poor access to fresh, affordable fruit and vegetables on campus.
“Fresh fruit is available but is generally quite expensive compared to unhealthy snacks such as chocolate bars or chips. They felt there was definitely room for improvement – so the idea for the food garden came up.”
The garden is being expanded and has been incorporated into the curriculum of various subjects across a range of degrees from Nutrition and Dietetics to Social Science, Science, Engineering, Urban Planning, Health Promotion, Communication and Marketing.
Associate Lecturer in Sustainability Education Lisa Ryan said Nutrition and Dietetics students recently delivered a tutorial about food security to Sustainability students in the garden.
“Food security is one of the big, wicked problems facing the world so we look at it from a global perspective,” she said. “But then it’s great for the students to understand how the issue plays out in a local context.
“They get to learn about nutrition and the sustainability perspective in terms of vulnerable groups, social justice issues around who has access to local foods and how community gardens can address some of those issues.”
Ms Cleary will present a talk “The Moving Feast – growing a sustainable USC” in the Red Tent venue of the World Environment Day Festival at USC’s Sippy Downs campus on Sunday 7 June.
The festival is being presented by Sunshine Coast Environment Council, Sunshine Coast Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast. For more details visit the WED website.
— Jane Cameron