We knew that free fruit, free iced coffee and free pancakes sounded appealing but little did we know just how popular they would be with University of Melbourne students!
For three weeks, through the University of Melbourne’s Summerfest and first week of classes, the Fair Food Challenge set up shop alongside Standing Room Coffee at Mon-Pop, the new popup site which is the very first piece of the New Student Precinct Project. Over the two and half weeks we had the opportunity to speak to students, staff and the broader community about visions for a fairer food campus and how they could get involved.
We at Fair Food Challenge think students could use more seasonal, affordable and accessible fruit. To that end we set up a free fruit box, filled daily with delicious stone fruit from Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens, which was gleefully consumed by all who came to visit. We gave away a total of 60kg of stone fruit in a fortnight.
Following this we are now trialling a free fruit box in Baillieu Library to give more students some extra brain power as we get stuck into semester. Given a recent study showed 93% of students are not getting enough fruit and veg we think this is a small step in the right direction.
Another initiative that proved exceptionally popular was our stylish mug library. We built the mug library by trading herbs and chillies from one of our gardens for the materials we needed and a ramshackle collection of mugs (the puppy mug, replete with doe-eyed Labradors proving the most popular). Once our mug library was built we partnered with Standing Room Coffee to serve refreshing ice coffees, chocolates and mochas. With only 35 mugs in rotation together we served 1300 coffees without using one single-use takeaway cup.
It made our day to see people using reusable cups, sitting in the newly relocated Growroom and washing their cups with enthusiasm.
Sticking to another of our core values of reducing food waste, Fair Food Directors Sophie L and Sophie J cooked up a storm with their Michelin star pancakes topped with delectable sauces made from super ripe bananas and about-to-go-off plums that may have otherwise ended up in the bin. If you were one of the lucky people to score one of these delights, then you were in for a treat.
Most importantly, we loved talking to so many keen and engaged fellow students about their ideas for a fairer food campus. We captured some great feedback through our surveys too that we will be adding to the growing list of student opinions we have been collecting. We have lots and lots planned for the year ahead - if you’d like to be involved, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about volunteering and becoming part of the fair food family!