This week Niyati Burde, from Lancaster University Students’ Union, talks about the Edible Campus project.
When you think of university students, you can be sure that the words “sustainable growing sites” are not the first ones that come to mind. Thankfully, it’s a trend that’s changing. With the National Union of Students’ Student Green Fund programme, universities across the country are actively engaging in the ‘sustainable food’ issue by creating student-run growing spaces as part of the Edible Campus Project. Lancaster is no exception, with Green Lancaster (the environmental group at Lancaster University) taking on the challenge to transform sites across the university campus into locations of biodiversity and sustainability.
As one of the team responsible for rolling out this project, I’m excited about what Green Lancaster and the Edible Campus Project can do for students, staff and local communities. It’s projects like these that bring the food issue into common conversation. I myself had never really considered the issue of food sustainability and hardly ever questioned where my food came from when I picked it up at the supermarket. But that’s changed now.
Now I’d rather shop at local farmer’s markets or go down to the EcoHub (Green Lancaster’s key growing site on campus) and pick up fresh produce and eggs from the rescued battery hens kept there. I recently cooked with spring cabbage for the first time and it was an experience I was genuinely excited to share with my friends and colleagues. A few weeks before that, I’d picked up some patty-pan squashes and prepared them for dinner: another first in food for me. It’s experiences like these that we’re trying to make commonplace and it really seems to have started gaining traction in many parts of the student community. Getting excited about growing your own food, tending to your own herb garden or collecting organic eggs is something that should be promoted and Green Lancaster is actively trying to fulfil that objective.
Growing your own food is an adventure for many who have never tried it before and it’s something I certainly found out from personal experience. Being an international student, it’s a unique opportunity to explore hobbies and lifestyles that I was never really exposed to and it definitely opens people’s eyes to what resources they have in their backyard or at their doorstep. Community growing spaces are on the rise and developing a passion for food is definitely something we can get behind. I mean, who doesn’t love food, right?