Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities: Report
The HealthWest Food Security Network is very pleased to present the Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities – Issues of food access and availability in the west, a report canvassing key food security issues in the HealthWest catchment.
The report findings point to a number of food access and food availability issues in the west based on the findings from three data sources: food outlet mapping, the Victorian Healthy Food Basket (VHFB) surveys, and community consultations.
The main issues that affect food access in the west are:
- high cost of healthy food;
- low income; and
- lack of public or private transport.
The main issues that affect food availability in the west are:
- fruit and vegetable deserts;
- disproportion between the number of fresh fruit and vegetable outlets in comparison with take away outlets; and
- lack of culturally appropriate food.
Access to healthy and culturally appropriate food is an important social determinant of health and the Report includes key recommendations to improve access and availability of fresh food in our community.
The report will be particularly useful for local council planners, health promotion workers, managers, program developers, quality improvement officers and other workers who will be able to use the data to inform food security advocacy, policy, planning and program development.
>>Download Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities – Issues of food access and availability in the west, June 2012
From the Executive Summary:
Based on the key food security issues identified in the west that have been presented in this report, the following recommendations are proposed to improve access and availability of fresh food in the west:
- Support community initiatives promoting access to affordable healthy food (e.g. farmers markets, food swap).
- Establish partnerships with local stakeholders including community and health services, council, community groups and local business interest groups, to ensure equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable community groups.
- Advocate to local council and relevant decision makers to improve the access to nutritious foods by improving transport links to food outlets (e.g. new or altered bus routes, cycle paths, community buses).
- Advocate to local council and relevant decision makers to improve the access to nutritious foods by regulating the number and type of food outlets licensed in the west.
- Support development of urban food production in the fruit and vegetables deserts (e.g. public space food production, community gardens, and private gardens).
- Develop a means of evaluating the access to culturally appropriate foods (e.g. develop a cultural healthy food basket).
- Integrate determinants of food security (i.e. transport, employment and housing) across organisational policies and programs.
- Develop evidence based strategies addressing the determinants of food security.
In addition, a number of recommendations for the HealthWest Food Security Network were made to guide future work, as outlined in Chapter 5.