Kitchen Garden program
The ANU Kitchen Garden program is a fun and sustainable initiative to help students get their hands dirty, learn how to grow, harvest and cook nutritious foods.
The ANU Kitchen Garden program was a Thrive initiative launched in 2022 and made possible through a Healthy grant received through the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program.
Upcoming Kitchen Garden events
Who are we?
The ANU Kitchen Garden is a growing community of ANU students and staff working together cooperatively to grow, prepare and share fresh, seasonal and delicious food including the bounty harvested from our very own community gardens on campus. All ANU students and staff are welcome to join in our weekly Kitchen Garden sessions and special events.
You don't need to be a master chef or have a green thumb, the Kitchen Garden is a place of learning and sharing experiences, knowledge and skills. Most importantly, the Kitchen Garden is a state of mind - it's about ANU people connecting as a community and connecting with nature through the inspiration and enjoyment of locally and cooperatively grown and prepared fresh food. Gardening bee participants share in the bounty of the seasonal harvest.
There are regular Kitchen Garden sessions each week during semester and it's easy to get involved. You don't need to attend every week, just come along when you can.
Kitchen Garden activities include;
- Gardening Bees at our two gardens (every week); The Orchard and The Plot, that usually go for one hour and involve hands-on gardening from seed sowing through to harvesting.
- Harvest - Prepare - Share communal lunches (every week) where we harvest from the gardens, cook or prepare a fresh meal and eat together.
- Special workshops and sessions including cooknig classes, gardening skills workshops, craft sessions, food waste, composting and worm farming workshops;
- Special events including cultural days, field trips and the annual Community Day.
Why a Kitchen Garden Program?
The Kitchen Garden is a cooperative community for all ANU students and staff, bringing us together to share connection with nature, each other and to enjoy fresh, healthy food.
Young people report high levels of loneliness, disconnection from nature and work/study-related stress. As well, young people have some of the lowest self-reported fruit and vegetable intakes across all age groups and can struggle to access affordable, healthy, fresh food. Healthy eating, access to nature and working together in community all contribute to improved physical and mental wellbeing.
The Kitchen Garden program offers ANU students and staff the chance to:
- work creatively and cooperatively, sharing skills, knowledge and experience and learning together;
- build confidence to grow and harvest food, to nurture and promote biodiversity, to learn about reducing food waste and circular economy approaches, and to prepare fresh, healthy, seasonal meals;
- create connections and networks with students and staff, and the broader Canberra community, in a safe, respective, and inclusive space - the Kitchen Garden Community;
- connect with nature and develop a deeper understanding ofour natural environment;
- develop and build on skills and capabilities beyond academic learning;
- engage in volunteer work and contribute to the local community and share a sense of purpose with others.
Each session is led by students working with and under the direction and supervision of the Kitchen Garden Program Coordinator.
How can I get involved?
As a participant
Anyone in the ANU community - students and staff- is welcome to come along to our regular sessions or events AND you really don't have to be a master chef or a green thumb gardener to attend! There's no ongoing commitment required: come once a Semester or every week, it's up to you! Participants can attend as many or as few regular sessions as they would like.
Registrations are essential for ALL regular sessions and other events. Registrations must be made through our Eventbrite page and can be completed up to one hour after the session or event begins.
As a volunteer
The Kitchen Garden thrives because of our committed and enthusiastic team of student and staff volunteers. Volunteering is fun and a great way to meet and work with other like-minded members of the ANU community.
Volunteers are supported with regular, ongoing on-the-job training in either garden or kitchen related skills knowledge and mentoring and are supervised by the Kitchen Garden Program Coordinator. You don't need to be a cooking or gardening expert, just enthusiastic, interested and willing to learn. We'll give you training and support!
Volunteers are invited to be part of the planning and creative development of the Kitchen Garden program and the gardens as well as helping with the day-to-day running of the program.
Volunteers are asked to make a commitment to the hour Kitchen Garden of at least 8 hours of volunteering per semester. This might be helping out with 4 Gardening Bees, or 3 Harvest-Prepare-Share lunch sessions or volunteering to water the garden once a week or feed the chickens on Saturdays. Volunteer hours can also be contributed by helping with social media, coordinating projects and promoting the Kitchen Garden Program.
Worms Against Waste
Thanks to the generous support of the ACT Government Below Zero Grants, the Kitchen Garden Program is running a Worms Against Waste worm farming trial and education program on campus in 2024 and 2025.
The Program aims to create a valuable resource for our community gardens by transforming food waste and green waste in vermicompost (worm castings and tea). This nutrient rich material can be generated on campus, preventing food waste being sent to landfill and feeding our crops without the use of shop bought fertilisers.
The Program is a trial in the use of small worm farms in three selected on campus residences as well as providing for nearby offices on campus to contribute their food waste to a large central worm farm. Participants are trained, mentored and supported, and a series of workshops on worm farming will be run throughout 2024 and 2025. The Program and workshops are open to everyone in the ANU community. Get in touch to find out how you can be involved at Student.Life@anu.edu.au.