A COMMUNITY garden on wheels, or maybe a market space in Hargreaves Mall.
These were some of the ideas LaTrobe University students came up with, after spending the past weeks investigating innovative solutions to create a sustainable food system.
One group hoped a mobile community garden could help address food insecurity in Bendigo. Their prototype, a shopping trolley containing potted foodstuffs.
Group member Lennon Logan said they had studied food deserts around Bendigo, areas where food distributors such as supermarkets are far away.
The students found a majority of people low socio-economic areas didn't eat even 10 per cent of the required daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
Mr Logan said the portable gardens broke down the stigma against healthy food and showed how to use even a small space.
He said food insecurity problems in Bendigo didn't have an easy answer.
"There's no core solutions to it, it's a very complex problem that's confounded by a whole bunch of different ideas," Mr Logan said.
"The healthy eating crisis, the obesity crisis, they all confound with each other. It's not just one key problem, it's a problem with the system as a whole."
The students' research was part of a subject run by LaTrobe using the CityStudio model, which partners students with city councils and real-world projects.
LaTrobe urban planning student Hattie Wedgewood's group investigated Bendigo's culture of food and urban spaces in the hope of finding a more sustainable path, both for the urban spaces and the economy.
The group created a pop-up park in Hargreaves Mall to engage passers-by with the area.
"We want to change the way people see Hargreaves Mall so eventually it can become a market space," Ms Wedgewood said.
"We've already got stuff like the Thursday farmers market that happens in here, hopefully more stuff like that, and maybe some alfresco dining businesses to get people into the space.
"I've seen shops empty in this space and they've stayed empty. Or we've had a FroYo, and then it's a supplement store, and then it's a shoe store. Stuff like that keeps happening. Food is the kind of thing that can't be replaced."
City of Greater Bendigo regional sustainable development manager Trevor Budge said out of every initiative that the city got involved with there was two or three little gems that council hadn't thought of.
Mr Budge said the students could engage with the community in a way that council couldn't.
The students will present their ideas to councillors and council staff on Friday.
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