Welcome! This is a series of 5 blogs bringing to you the take-outs of workshops hosted by Melbourne Farmers Markers in collaboration with Fair Food Challenge, Youth Food Movement and Leftover Lovers with the support from Sustainability Victoria and The University of Melbourne through a Love Food Hate Waste Victoria grant.

My name is Kameron Chan and I am a student at the University of Melbourne, currently volunteering with the Melbourne Farmers Markets as a Freelance Food Consultant. Over the next five workshops, I will blogging each workshop as well as provide tips, tricks and take-outs for you to up your food waste game in the home!

On Wednesday 18th April, in the first of five Love Food Hate Waste Workshop, Sophie from Fair Food Challenge, in conjunction with the Melbourne Farmers Markets, provided the participants an insight as to how the University of Melbourne aims to reduce the level of food waste on campus with a simple tour; focusing on educating how university students can take the first step. Let the tour begin!

Our first stop was to Union House where it is perhaps the largest contributor of food waste on the Parkville Campus. With more than 10 places to buy food in a single location, where does all the food waste go? Fortunately not! For the businesses only, there are special bins for them to dump their organic waste into which them goes into the ‘digester’ (pictured). Essentially this is a mechanical composting system which turns organic material into dry powdered compost for use.

Next was to the Food Co-op on Level 1! This is a volunteer run organisation which produced vegan and gluten free lunches to students at very affordable prices. In addition, they also have their own ‘spice market’ full of organic spices, dried herbs and ingredients like rice and honey that you can buy at whatever quantity you wish! You can also get environmentally friendly soaps, detergents and washing powder.

Then after a short walk along Monash Road, we ventured into the courtyard behind the Post Office which houses the University of Melbourne Community Garden! Once again this is volunteer run and is a free for all vegetable and fruit garden – although you will feel better if you also contributed to its lifestyle. Additionally composting sites are available to sustainably depose of your organic waste.

Another initiative is that near the Peter Hall Building houses ‘The Grow Room’. This is a structure built to not only be a quiet place but also a living plant system. Various herbs and flowers surround the pod that is welcome for students to take!

Finally on our way back to the farmers’ market, participants got the chance to talk to local market legend Simeon, from Spoke & Spade, to learn more about the various organic food practices that he uses in growing his produce. In essence, his story began in a backyard which grew to the front yard and now another block is being developed to contain his expanding business! How great it is that people are becoming more conscious to buy local and directly support our farmers!

Undoubtedly these are some great initiatives that the University of Melbourne has conducted in order to make its food systems fairer, healthier and more sustainable. However more needs to be done, both at the University and within our own homes.

It’s easy to talk about fairer, healthier and sustainable food practises like ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ and controlling the amount of food you throw away, but obviously there are other ways – from small to larger scale practises – to reduce our food waste footprint in the home environment. Composting, vegetable and herb gardens, buying food sustainability from the Food Co-Op and farmers’ market are just some ways to start as a uni student! Want to share your how you reduce waste at home or want some extra tips? Contact us on marketing@mfm.com.au or tag us on Instagram @MelbourneFarmersMarkets.

Obviously the question now is not ‘how’ but when will you start?

Want to join in? There are limited tickets still available: https://www.trybooking.com/359443

Blog by Kameron Chan, Freelance Food Consultant – Marketing and Promotions, for Melbourne Farmers Markets exclusive use