Professional Development - Urban Food Growing

CourseUrban Food Growing: grow fruit and veg like a pro
Partner FacultyFaculty of Science
Background The University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus has provided national and international leadership in horticultural education and training for 120 years. As part of the Faculty of Science, Burnley offers innovative courses to meet the changing and contemporary needs of the horticultural profession and the community, supported by a remarkable plant collection which provides a unique learning experience within 9 hectares of its heritage listed gardens.
Course Description This unique course provides a comprehensive design to growing food successfully in an urban environment. It offers depth of knowledge and learning to the field of urban food growing and gives participants the opportunity to develop their skills and build on their knowledge in order to grow and harvest a wide range of herbs, vegetables, fruits and berries (including unusual edibles) like a professional, all year round. The latest research shows that home gardens could produce hundreds of kilograms of fresh food per annum – enough to substantially contribute towards meeting the typical households’ annual requirements for fresh vegetables and produce with a surplus. However, even small quantities grown in containers, on vertical walls or roof gardens can contribute to better health and create a sense of wellbeing in ‘growing your own’ by connecting with nature every day. The course comprises 14 sessions including lectures, practical sessions and an excursion, with industry specialists delivering some of the content. Course objectives will enable participants to:
  • Understand how to design a food garden in order to produce healthy market quality food all year round
  • Examine soil properties and nutrition to maximise production
  • Grow a wide range of vegetables, fruit, berries and herbs including unusual varieties
  • Implement effective water management techniques and understand how to garden sustainably
  • Learn how to safely control pests and diseases & keep plants healthy
  • Appreciate seasonality and meet fresh vegetable and fruit requirements
  • Harvest, share, preserve, bottle, freeze and dehydrate excess produce.
Delivery Mode This short course is delivered at the University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus with practical activities in the Nursery, Field station and Urban Food Demonstration Garden. It is delivered face-to-face, includes practical workshops, an excursion and online readings and discussion forums through our Student Online Learning Environment (SOLE).
Who Should Apply This course is for anyone with an interest in growing fresh, healthy and nutritious food in an urban environment. It will be of particular interest to:
  • Keen home gardeners
  • Small space dwellers
  • Community gardeners
  • School and public garden and food network facilitators and
  • Restaurateurs.
Entry Requirements There are no entry requirements for this course.
Academic and Teaching Team This program incorporates current horticultural sustainable research presented by Burnley lecturers and seminars from leading industry experts including:
  • Fred Hellriegel - Urban Food Growing Course Coordinator
  • Andrew Laidlaw - Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design Landscape Architecture. Landscape Architect Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
  • Dr Peter May - Principal May Horticulture Services. Senior Associate Depart of Resource Management and Geography
  • Geoff Connellan - G & M Connellan Consultants and author Water Use Efficiency for Irrigated Turf and Landscape
  • Tim Sansom - CEO The Diggers Club
  • Dr Paul Horne - IPM Technologies and co-author Integrated Pest Management for Crops and Pastures
  • Peter Allen (Pete the Permie) - Telopea Mtn Permaculture and Nursery. Author Heritage & Dwarf fruit trees for Urban backyards & small Orchards
  • Penny Woodward - Edible & useful Plants. Well known author including Herbs for Australian Gardens
  • Sally Wise - Author of several books including From my Kitchen to Yours, regular guest on ABC local radio in Tasmania.
Delivery Dates and Times Classes are held on Monday evenings from 6 - 8.30 pm. There are also two practical sessions and an excursion which are held on Saturdays.
SessionDate and TopicPresenter
1Monday, 3 August:
Planning and design
Andrew Laidlaw and Fred Hellriegel
2 (Prac 1)Saturday, 8 August: Plant propagation Fred Hellriegel
3Monday, 10 August: Plant nutrition Fred Hellriegel
4Monday, 17 August: Soils, growing media & substrates Dr Peter May
5Monday, 24 August: Sustainable water use Geoff Connellan
6Monday, 31 August Growing fruit and nuts Peter Allen
7Monday, 7 September: Growing vegetables (part 1) Tim Sansom
8 (Excursion)Saturday, 12 September: TBA
9Monday, 14 September: Growing vegetables (part 2) Tim Sansom
Term Break: 19 September to 4 October
10Monday, 5 October: Control of Invertebrate Pests Dr Paul Horne
11Monday, 12 October: Growing berries & alternative edibles Dr Chris Williams
12Monday, 19 October: Growing herbs Penny Woodward
13 & 14
(Prac 2)
Saturday, 24 October: Morning session: Plant establishment, pruning and maintenance Afternoon session: Harvesting, sharing, distributing, cooking, preserving Morning:
Dr Chris Williams Andrew Smith Fred Hellriegel Peter Allen Afternoon: Sally Wise
Delivery VenueBurnley Campus, The University of Melbourne,500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond, VIC 3121 Melway reference: Page 45, A12 Burnley Campus MapBy road - The main entrance is on Yarra Boulevard - south from the Swan Street bridge. There is limited parking on the campus. Parking is also available on Yarra Boulevard. By tram - From Flinders Street along the Exhibition Street extension into Swan Street, tram number 70, stop number 18. By train - Nearest stations are Burnley, Hawthorn or Heyington.
Course Fees The course fees in 2015 are $2,050 (plus GST).
Fee Inclusions The course fees include all tuition and course materials. Light refreshments (coffee/tea biscuits) are provided during the evening break.
Additional Information All short course attendees are provided with a certificate of attendance at the last session.
Related courses and subjectsDiscovering HorticultureGraduate Certificate in Garden Design
Contact Us Rachel DeCean, School of Melbourne Custom Programs T: 03 9810 3352 E: