Five Ideas… Are you growing food on your campus yet?

Thursday 30-04-2015 - 12:51

It could be the most transformative thing you do this year.

Growing food on your campus isn’t just a cosy thing to do on a Sunday afternoon with your thermos.

It supports everything you do as a students’ union – from enhancing education, to boosting employability, to taking action on welfare, to strengthening community links.

Why not grow food on your campus this year or find out more at the Student Eats conference on 3 June? Here’s five ideas why...

1. You can get reconnected with your food

Growing your own food is one of the most rewarding ways of taking action against today’s sustainability crises.

Raising low carbon, zero food miles crops with organic principles is an act of dissent against the wasteful and unjust food system today.

We know that more and more students want to get reconnected with their food and contribute to the sustainable future they want to see. Student Eats lets you do that.

2. It promotes social enterprise among students

You can just share out food among your volunteers, which is great. But we bet you’ll find you’re soon making more than you can eat yourselves.

It’s a great chance to develop social enterprise.At the University of Gloucestershire, students have come together to make their own chilli jam business, using crops they grow on campus.

Engaging business students, design students as well as people just interested in gardening, the enterprise is incredibly successful, expanding across the whole city providing incredible employability experience for their students.

3. It’s good for health and wellbeing

The positive links between gardening and health and wellbeing are well documented.

Whether you want to support students who are experiencing serious mental health issues, or just want to give people a break from the stress of revision, having a green space where you can get your hands on soil is extremely therapeutic.

At the University of Staffordshire, one student was struggling to even leave the house when he got involved with Student Eats. He told us that the garden was where he started to get better.

It could be the best thing you do for student welfare all year.

4. It brings new people into your students’ union

Are the social spaces you offer as inclusive as they might be?

For students, a community garden might offer an entry point into your union, if they feel alienated by the prevalent drinking culture on some campuses.

A garden offers a great alternative space to come together – especially for groups like international, part time, post grad and BME students. There’s no better way to share cultural heritages than through growing new food and sharing meals.

5. It amplifies your charitable and community impact

Student Eats doesn’t stop at the edges of campus. It touches entire communities, and can shift the perception of students across an entire neighbourhood.

At the University of Roehampton Students’ Union, food grown on campus is used by local catering social enterprise Regenerate which gives employment opportunities to young people turning their backs on gang life and crime.

These sandwiches are then sold back on campus, with the profits providing meals for children in the developing world.

From your campus allotment, you can shift the food system of the local and global community.

Student Eats is about so much more than pulling carrots. It shapes student lifestyles across community, economics, employability, education and wellbeing. It might even turn out to be the most impactful thing your students’ union offers this year. 

Sign up today or register for the conference on 3 June.


Features, Sustainability, Union Development

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