Rocky kids to bury themselves in grubby food waste solutions with new Smart Grubs project

10 March 2022

Park Avenue State School students in Rockhampton will soon be engrossed in a series of activities delivered by CQUniversity Australia that aims to educate them about alternative food waste solutions to landfills' with funding from a Queensland Government Engaging Science Grant valued at $19 942 solidifying the wriggly project.

Led by Head of Course for Science' Environment and Agriculture Dr Amie Anastasi and supported by Head of College for Science and Sustainability Dr Ryan Kift' the Smart Grubs project will demonstrate how food waste can be processed' composted' and used to improve soil health.

As part of the project' the students will record and analyse data about the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) to learn about their lifecycle and how the fly larvae can be used to compost food waste.

The students will also collect' sort' and weigh food waste from their classroom' which will be used as feed for the fly larvae. They will then record how the larvae consumes the food and processes it into frass. The frass will subsequently be used as a compost product.

According to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture' Water and the Environment' around 7.6 million tonnes of food across the supply and consumption chain is wasted year each year' which is equal to approximately 312 kilograms per person or $2000 to $2500 per household per year.

Dr Kift said' "The project hopes to help the students develop a love for Science and have them thinking about Science as a career in the future".

"The project will use the expertise of a local hobby farmer combined with the academic knowledge of CQUniversity lecturers to develop a program that the students will find exciting and something they can relate to what they do every day."

Dr Kift and his team have started purchasing equipment to support the project' which includes a large greenhouse.

Once the greenhouse has been erected at the school' the grubs should start to develop in May and the project can begin.

The project will run until the end of the year and will relate directly to the student's curriculum while planting resourceful knowledge they can use now for a greener future.