Ioane Kennedy harvesting from the Foodcube garden at the USP Tuvalu Campus.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tuvalu Campus was honoured to host The Honourable Senator Marise Payne, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs on 7 February 2019.
Senator Payne toured the Campus to see first-hand the Foodwall Project that is being sponsored by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and installed by Biofilta, a Melbourne-based urban food growing company.
The Senator was in Tuvalu recently to officially open a new Australian High Commission.
Dr Rosiana Lagi, Tuvalu Campus Director explained that the Foodwall Project involved the installation of two sets of Foodcubes used as vegetable gardens.
“The garden is one of its kind in the Pacific that was designed and constructed by Biofilta. The food cubes have a water regulator that indicates the water level. This type of garden serves an atoll island like Funafuti, where water is scarce,” she noted.
“It does not need a lot of water to grow well. However, it has a water regulator, which is a great tool that allows our gardner to use the right amount of water at the right time,” she stated.
Mr Ioane Kennedy, the Campus watchman takes care of the garden and stated that since the installation of the food cubes in October, 2018, there have been nine harvests.
Communication to and from Tuvalu can be difficult at times, especially with the slow internet. However, via the USPNet, the Biofilta was able to make contact with the Tuvalu government.
To reciprocate the assistance from USP’s Tuvalu campus, Biofilta agreed to Dr. Lagi’s request for a garden to be set up at the Campus. Her interest in food security led her to request for the project for the Campus.
In addition, Dr. Lagi stated that the main purpose of the garden is to assist in addressing food security and also acts as a motivation for young people to plant vegetables to promote a healthy lifestyle and curb the increase in non-communicable diseases in Tuvalu.
The garden feeds over 100 people every harvest and Campus staff and students are happy to share their harvest with the community members and at the same time be a role model in promoting healthy lifestyle.
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