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Green-fingered students get growing

A group of students from the University of Portsmouth have set up a mini vegetable farm in the courtyard of their University building as part of an urban agriculture project.

Steph Wyant starts work on the raised beds

Steph Wyant starts work on the raised beds

They are launching the project with their first Growers Market, taking place this Thursday 30 March, for staff, students and ‘foodies’ from the wider community to come together and celebrate good food. The event is for anyone with a shared interest in growing food, eating well and improving the local environment and will include potting and seed sewing demonstrations, raised-bed building and painting workshops and advice on making your own windowsill herb garden.

The project is the brainchild of students from the Green Society, one of the student societies based in the Students’ Union. Architecture student, Stephanie Wyant, 22, is one of the project’s originators. She said that they aim to produce high quality organic vegetables year-round, creating opportunities for students to grow their own produce and to think about the food they eat a bit more.

She said:  “Students have a bad reputation for living off takeaways and beans on toast.  We want to get more students thinking about the food they eat, where it comes from and sustainable food consumption. This week’s growers’ market is just the start but it will bring together local food producers, the community and students to share great food and great ideas on becoming responsible food citizens. It’s an opportunity to meet up and share skills and ideas and of course, sample some tasty treats. There’s even a smoothie bike!”

The event will see stall holders from many food related projects across the city giving you the chance to ‘meet your local gardener’, learn about what happens to all the waste food from super markets to benefit the local community and much more. There will be demonstrations from experienced gardeners on basic gardening skills, an opportunity to construct an insect hotel and make window sill planters to get you started on your own green fingered venture.vegetable growing web

The initiative received funding from NUS Student Eats, a body that works with students to develop their own growing sites and set up food enterprises, embedding sustainable food production across campuses, curriculums and communities.

The group received training from the Soil Association and have taken advice about planting produce to reap early crops, which can be harvested before many students leave for their summer break. They have also arranged for those staying over the summer to look after the ‘farm’ and some staff have also joined the group and are keen to help keep things going over the summer months.

Stall holders at Thursday’s event will include local growers, food charities, student societies and local responsible-food companies including:

  • Somerstown Community Garden
  • The Stacey Orchard
  • Southsea Greenhouse
  • The University of Portsmouth Vegan Society
  • Collective Nourishment
  • FoodCycle
  • FoodPortsmouth
  • Pompey Preserves

Details of the event are below:

  • What: Eldon Growers Market
  • When: Thursday 30 March 11am – 3pm
  • Where: Eldon Building Courtyard, University of Portsmouth, PO1 2DJ

Find out more on the group’s Facebook page and at their blog

2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. and? I’ve got an allotment…

  2. This is a fantastic idea!

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow and getting involved now!

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