Dookie Day 2019: Planting the seeds of the future

Dookie Day 2019
Locally sourced food and wine will be available at Dookie Day. Photo credit: Adrian Vittorio

The University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus will be open to the community, local industry, alumni and prospective students on Sunday 22 September 2019.

Dookie Day visitors will be invited to take an immersive journey through precincts centred around the theme: Planting seeds today for tomorrow. The precincts explore research advances and industry partnerships in remote sensing and precision agriculture, sustainable food and animal production, and the connections between Indigenous culture, arts and the land.

Research displays include innovative microwave weedkiller demonstrations, robotic dairy farm tours and thermal sensory imaging exhibits, which are part of Professor Pablo Zarco Tejada’s work with the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and Melbourne School of Engineering’s Airborne Remote Sensing Facility.

“Australians are awakening to the crucial role of farming, food production and technological innovation in meeting the global challenge of food security, environmental sustainability and climate change. We are seeing a resurgence in agricultural study, research and innovative practice,” Dean of Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Professor John Fazakerley said.

University of Melbourne experts attending Dookie Day will cover a number of research areas including: crop breeding, heat stress management for dairy cattle, herbicide-resistant weed management and soil health.

A panel discussion on Agriculture Victoria’s on-farm ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) trial will also take place. The trial involves the installation of IoT technology across four regional areas and four industry sectors to drive industry-wide change and propel Victoria to world leadership in food and fibre production.  The panel will be facilitated by Doctor Sara Hely, scientist and senior manager in agriculture, and will feature: Agriculture Victoria’s Mark Sloan, leader of the Rural Innovation Research Group, CEO of Sensand Technologies Davi La Ferla and local owner operator of Cummins Farm, Libby Cummins.

Science Gallery Melbourne will bring their Plastivore pop-up installation to Dookie, showcasing the humble mealworm and its ability to partially biodegrade polystyrene through its gut bacteria, breaking down the plastic and turning it into compost.

Kaiela Arts, an Aboriginal art centre located in Shepparton, and the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development will each conduct a range of workshops that teach participants to make traditional clay turtles, jewellery and woven products while discovering Indigenous links. The Academy of Sports and Health Education will be hosting traditional Indigenous games.

Locally sourced food and wine, including freshly picked Dookie apples and native bush tucker, will be available in the Hungry Harvest precinct, where there will also be butter-churning and pedal-powered fruit smoothie activities.

Dookie Professor in Residence Tim Reeves said: “I see Dookie Day as a tremendous opportunity, not only for the University to show how Dookie is contributing to the wider agricultural and food sector and enriching student experience by allowing them to study in a real farming context, but also for the industry and community to come and see the continuing development of this campus and see the University of Melbourne’s significant investments to make that experience the best it can be.”

Dookie campus is the home of the University’s Diploma in General Studies (DiGS), a pathway into University of Melbourne degrees in Agriculture, Biomedicine, Commerce, Design and Science. Dookie also plays host to Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Science students.

This year Dookie has seen the largest number of students on campus in the past 10 years with up to 280 students staying on site at any time.

An audio tour of Dookie Day is available on Whooshkaa

See Media Kit for downloadable Dookie Tour audio files.