History of Source

How did Source happen? 

The Source project has been initiated and entirely driven by volunteers since its conception in 2005. Many people have volunteered countless hours to see the dream become reality. For example, volunteers at working bees helped to build the earth walls, the pizza oven and the garden; local craftspeople and businesses have donated items for fund raising auctions; and several individuals have given thousands of hours doing behind-the-scenes tasks such as writing grants; preparing the constitution; negotiating the lease; managing the building process; organising insurance; attending meetings and keeping track of the finances. Most of us have learned the skills needed along the way, or contacted people in the community who could help.

Source is a positive solutions-based project. We continue to be motivated because we believe that changing how we consume is a key way to lighten our environmental footprints and we want to bring healthy and ethical food choices to a wider range of people.

Here is a brief timeline of how Source happened:



The idea of Source was conceived in 2005 by a collection of students and community members including Catriona Scott, Jenny Calder and Ben Wills. Jen and several other students from the University of Tasmania had recently attended the annual Students of Sustainability Conference in Melbourne, organised by the Australian Student Environment Network. They were inspired by the diverse student-lead sustainability initiatives occurring at universities around Australia, including several food co-ops that had been in existence since the 1970s. On returning to Hobart, they started a University Environment Collective. During Enviro-Collective meetings it emerged that some members of the collective were interested in starting a food co-op on campus, others were keen to build a composting facility, and others wanted to establish a community garden. These ideas were put together and the concept of an integrated “Sustainability Centre” was born.

At this time The Hobart Organic Food Co-op (HOFC) had been in existence for several years. The HOFC was born when a bunch of people who had experienced the joys of co-ops on the mainland decided they were sick of paying too much for organic food in Hobart. The beginnings were small – they had to decide between purchasing brown rice or flour, because they couldn’t afford both. The HOFC lived in a variety of locations, including a garage in York St., and most recently, the back of the Socialist Alliance Centre in Murray Street, where it still exists. It expanded to offer a wide range of wholefoods, including seasonal vegetable boxes for a period of time. However the HOFC was only open 2 hours a week and was located down a dingy dark alleyway. The members of the environment collective perceived a need to reach out to new members by establishing a food co-op in a larger, more accessible space with longer opening hours.

In 2005, Source co-founders including Jen Calder, Catriona Scott, Ben Wills and Hilary Bell developed a preliminary proposal for the Sustainability Centre and presented it to the University's Asset Management Services. The Uni granted in principle support for the project and permission to use the block of land on the lower side of French St, which was empty, apart from a run-down glasshouse, a few introduced wattles and a lot of jack-jumpers.


2006 - 2007

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In 2006 many meetings were held to come up with a collaborative design and vision of the site. The site was surveyed free-of-charge by Justin Welsch and an free architectural drawing was prepared by Jen Welsch. The name “Source Community Wholefoods” was proposed by Ben and agreed upon at a group meeting. Several fundraising initiatives were organised, such as a raffle, a cake stall, native plant patches and a fundraiser gig. In 2007 Jen, Ben, Catriona, Hilary and Caitlin Carew applied for and were successful in receiving a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund for $71,906. The University's Asset Management services contributed another $20, 000 for building costs. The project also received a grant from the department of Tourism, Arts and Environment for $4,650 to purchase some garden tools and build a composting facility on the site, which was constructed by local composting guru David Stephen.


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Construction of the building began in January 2008 with the laying of the slab and the employment of Nik Elbrecht as project coordinator and Forrest Whitten as the principal builder. Volunteers helped to build and render the straw and earth walls at several working bees. In June, we voted on a constitution which had been written by Naomi Wakelin, and we became incorporated as a cooperative. A pizza oven was built in September by Galen Pettigrew and volunteers, with $700 funding from the Tasmanian University Union. Funding of $4925 was also received from the Department of Families, Communities and Indigenous Affairs, under a Volunteers Grant program, which has been used to install a shipping container for storage, a rainwater tank and to buy some garden and kitchen tools. The inaugural Winter feast was organised by Catriona and held in May, which was a very successful and great-tasting fundraiser!



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February 2009 saw the completion of the building. Hannah Moloney designed a permaculture plan for the garden. An excavator undertook landscaping works and garden beds were installed with the help of a Greencorps team and funds from the Hobart City Council. Working bees were held every month from March onwards, and much was achieved including planting an apple orchard that was funded by a 'sponsor a fruit tree' campaign. We received further funding from the Tas Community Fund of $24, 902 to fit out the building as a shop. This was completed by Forrest Whitten and others in September. We planted our first crop of organic garlic and harvested big, fat, juicy bulbs in December. The 2nd Annual Winterfeast was organised by Liz Cromer and Lissa Villeneuve and held in July, raising another $4,000. The greywater absorption trench was approved and installed, and a possum-proof fence was put up by a Greencrops crew and volunteers at a working bee. A crew from the Tasmanian Leadership Program helped us with a business plan development and we began selling memberships, included 100 life memberships as a limited offer to fund raise for the opening of the shop. A volunteer celebration was held in December with funds from the Hobart City Council.



In 2010 we signed a lease agreement with the University of Tasmania for $100 rent a year and obtained our Occupancy Certificate from the council. The board interviewed and appointed Jono Cooper and Michelle Dyer to work as the shop keepers. We received a $10,000 donation from the State Government to purchase stock for opening, after treasurer Ben Wills had an impromptu meeting with the then MP Lisa Singh and the Premier David Bartlett at a music concert. Several busy garden working bees have been held, including one on a 35 degree day in January. We had a ‘soft’ opening on the 24th of February, followed by our ‘grand opening' on the 13th of March, which included champagne, pizzas and speeches from local politicians. The 3rd Annual Winterfeast was held in June, raising $6000 and we continue to have monthly working bees in the garden.



Source is still very new and there are many projects we would like to see happen. These include:

Hosting skills workshops such as organic gardening, composting, wholefoods cooking and permaculture design
Installing a new sign on French St
Installing seating around the pizza oven and in the garden so people can spend more time enjoying the Source community garden
Creating a mini-glasshouse to grow seedlings for sale and for use in the garden
Making a sandpit for the kids
Continuing the research the most ethical food options available and making that information available to members.
Building a pergola to shade the building in summer
Expanding the orchard and the garden
Providing cheap vegetarian lunches for uni students
Installing a garden shed
Incorporating community artworks into the garden
Installing a composting toilet
Continuing to be involved in community education initiatives

All these initiatives depend on the time and energy of committed volunteers. If you would like to be one of these volunteers and help turn our dreams into reality, please contact the Source board to discuss! Email SOURCE.WHOLEFOODS@GMAIL.COM