A globally innovative and live project with the Victorian Eco Innovation Lab to re-vitalise peri urban farming in Melbourne and convince people that eating veggies is cooler than eating McMansions

Semester 1, 2013

With Kirsten Larsen and Jessica Bird

Keywords: Sustainability, service design, food systems, local food, community, eco-acupuncture

This studio is about the future of food and farming. Melbourne has 4 million people and it’s growing – with more and more houses increasingly covering our best farmland, what exactly will we be eating in the future? It’s the same story all over the world, we need to protect land, develop new ways of growing food, and re-imagine local food systems which are sustainable and highly productive. VEIL is working on new ways of solving some of these issues in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. The City of Casey is 35kms from Melbourne, heavily car dependent, with high levels of mortgage stress and food insecurity. It has great farmland but the farmers can’t get their produce to the people and the people don’t always know that eating veggies is probably healthier than buying a Louis Vuitton Happy Meal. Enter us with some radical design thinking to excite and empower people. Think food trucks high on spinach, pop-up supermarkets, online collaborative spaces, malls that tell you what’s really good for you, Mc farm gate stalls and hanging out with locals, having great conversations and trying to solve some of our most perplexing global sustainability issues.

This design studio will be challenging. It’s socially complex, it’s a live project dealing with real problems and real people who live far away. But the work you do here will have real impacts. How could the food system work? And how do we catalyse the change?

In this studio, you will be the visionary designer that goes out and talks to people, explores and visualises complex systems and possible responses. You will come up with concepts that meet real needs, accept and integrate feedback, communicate to the people and potentially pilot your suggested design plan.

VEIL: Victorian Eco Innovation Lab [VEIL] is exploring the transformative power of future visions for new developments in Melbourne. This work is complemented by input from design professionals, Local Councils, State Government and the existing community, to design a suite of projects that can trigger the building of a broader networked and sustainable precinct.

VEIL calls this program: Eco- Acupuncture.

VEIL can be accessed at: http://ecoinnovationlab.com  


Eco-acupuncture: Developing sites of intervention 2013. Can Melbourne’s peri-urban landscapes be sustainable and resilient? Can new food systems help make that happen? What would it look like? How can peri-urban communities be transformed through the design of strategic interventions in distributed food systems?

Housing meets (or eats?) farmland in the City of Casey


A farmer’s market in Melbourne’s outer south east


Concept sketch for a Food Hub in Casey


Image from Common Market, a ‘Food Hub’ in Philadelphia