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Food security and growing your own veg on the agenda for our third annual Green Week  

Published: 03 March 2023

  •   Featured
A gardener with their hands in a seed box tending to small plants

Students and staff join forces for a week of sustainability events at York St John. 

With a backdrop of supermarket shelves bare of tomatoes and cucumbers, and the ongoing struggles with the rising costs of food, there is a focus on food sustainability at York St John University’s third Green Week. 

The week begins on Monday 13 March 2023 with a Soil and Horticulture Day full of dedicated events to get people thinking about where their food comes from.  

There will be a workshop on square metre gardening for tips on maximising small spaces, an ideas sharing session featuring guest speaker Lou Divers from York Community Kids' Allotment and the University canteen will be going Meat Free for the day. 

There will also be a special chance to view the celebrated climate justice film Kiss the Ground, narrated by and featuring Woody Harrelson. The documentary is a call to action, suggesting that regenerating the world’s soils could be key to stabilizing our climate, restoring lost ecosystems and creating abundant food supplies.  

Wednesday 15 March sees the Doing Change: Education for Social Justice event, exploring how education can support our ability to imagine and enact a better and more just future. This is a celebration of the University’s commitment to education for social justice and the platform for the annual Archbishop of York Lecture in Social Justice, this year delivered by Fozia Irfan, director of BBC Children in Need. This event will also be hosting a student-led “Dreaming Café" which will invite students to envisage “the ideal campus café".  

Other highlights of the week include a visit from The Groves Repair + Share, a local project that gives residents a place to get a broken item fixed or, if they have the tools and skills, help fix broken items. Their repair cafés run on the last Saturday of each month, but they will be running a special information session on campus on Tuesday 14 March. Read more about their work on the BBC website. 

Forge Recycling, our campus waste and recycling contractor, will be in Holgate Canteen during lunch on Thursday 16 March to chat with students and staff about the importance of recycling food waste properly. All food waste collected on campus is taken to anaerobic digestion where it is used to produce energy. 

Environmental Projects Officer Julia Dyman is one of the organisers of Green Week. She said: 

“Addressing the complexities of the global food systems that we all participate in is one part of our wider work on sustainability at York St John University.  

“By making more informed choices, such as choosing locally sourced, low carbon and meat-free options where possible, we can help to combat the impacts of harmful food production methods leading to socio-economic inequality and climate change-related catastrophes in the global south.”  

Dr Catherine Heinemeyer is coordinator of York St John University's Living Lab, an award winning cross-university sustainability project. She said: 

“Our project Living Lab: Feeding The Campus is all about students collaborating to tackle real, local, ecological justice issues.  

“None is more pressing than the local food system. Students from around 20 different subjects are deeply engaged with questions around how we can envisage and create a system that works better for both people and planet.” 

Events during Green Week: 

Monday 13 March  

Kiss the Ground film screening 
York St John University Creative Centre Auditorium, 11.30am to 1pm  

Meat Free Monday 
Holgate Canteen (Neo Pizza, Phat Pasty, Soup Station and hot food counter), lunchtime onwards 

Square Metre Gardening Workshop 
Outside the Students’ Union, 1pm to 2pm led by Martin from the YSJ Grounds Team 

Community Gardening at YSJ 
DG109, 2pm to 3pm, featuring guest speaker Lou Divers from York Community Kids' Allotment  

Tuesday 14 March 

The Groves Repair + Share informational 
Holgate, 10am to 1pm       

Wednesday 15 March 

Institute for Social Justice “Doing Change” Conference and Dreaming Cafe
York St John University Creative Centre, 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Booking via Eventbrite 

Thursday 16 March  

What happens with our food waste?  
Holgate Canteen, 10.30am to 2.30pm featuring Forge Recycling 


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01904 876 466

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