Designing sustainable, healthy and prosperous communities for a growing population is a challenge faced across the world. The origins of the food we eat are increasingly obscure and people in urban centres are often detached from food production. How can communities be designed to increase food security, minimise waste, build knowledge and skills, drive employment and enhance the natural environment? How can communities actively participate in the food economy of their region?
By applying circular economy principles, supported by digital technologies such as sensors, communities can work together to transform their food system. The team of researchers at QUT and Lendlease created a framework and “how to guide” to help transform local food systems. This involves collecting kitchen waste, making compost and growing food, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The design uses recycled and waste materials.
This project developed a community app to track food waste and offer incentives. Sensors were made from e-waste and monitored the quality of the compost via methane readings that push data into the app. Alerts tell the community when the system needs attention such as such as watering the grow beds, or adding materials to the compost
These new technologies and research outcomes will be embedded into Lendlease’s development plans, which will see the population of Yarrabilba grow to 45,000 by 2041.
Visit QUT's website for access to knowledge, tools and resources to start building your own zero-waste circular food economy for communities, schools and other institutions.
Messner, R., Richards, C. and Johnson, H., 2020. The “Prevention Paradox”: food waste prevention and the quandary of systemic surplus production. Agriculture and Human Values, pp.1-13, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-10014-7
CarolRichards, Bree Hurst, Rudolf Messner, Grace O'Connor, The paradoxes of food waste reduction in the horticultural supply chain. Industrial MarketingManagement Volume 93, February 2021, Pages 482-491.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2020.12.002