Saturday, December 4, 2010

Otago Polytechnic: a living campus

A couple of years ago, Otago Polytechnic set up a project called The Living Campus. My understanding is that the idea behind the project is to make the campus an example of sustainable practice, integrating learning experiences for students and developing community vegetable production.

I am not sure if the project is meeting its original aims but I have been enjoying watching the vegetables and flowers grow - the campus is currently looking really exciting and colourful.

At the moment there is a person employed to grow vegetables which are then available for anyone to pick, including members of the public. A couple of days ago I picked a meal's worth of broad beans which was the first time I have eaten fresh broad beans in many, many years.

I am not too sure how sustainable the gardens are. As far as I can tell, Otago Polytechnic is putting in all the funding and effort. I haven't seen any community activity going on. What I would like to see is some sort of reciprocal arrangement...if you take away vegetables, you replace them with seeds or plants. I've got some spare tomatoes plants which I'll take into work next week.

What I'd be really interested in is setting up a gardening club at Otago Polytechnic that meets in a lunch time...maybe that will be one of my projects next year. I'm just wondering if there'd be any interest.


Leigh Blackall said...

Hope you'll take a walk down to Horticulture, look up Kim Thomas, and ask for a guided tour of their permaculture garden, intended for the Living Campus.

Sarah Stewart said...

Had a good look around a couple of months ago: