Posts Tagged ‘food security’

Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities: Report

Posted in Policies, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 5th, 2012

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:

  1. Support community initiatives promoting access to affordable healthy food (e.g. farmers markets, food swap).
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Support development of urban food production in the fruit and vegetables deserts (e.g. public space food production, community gardens, and private gardens).
  6. Develop a means of evaluating the access to culturally appropriate foods (e.g. develop a cultural healthy food basket).
  7. Integrate determinants of food security (i.e. transport, employment and housing) across organisational policies and programs.
  8. 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.

True costs of imported food in Australian supermarkets?

Posted in Movements, Opinion, Policies by Kate Archdeacon on June 1st, 2012

Source: Food Magazine

Photo by Tait Schmaal in an article for Adelaide Now about the damage imported processed food is doing to local growers.

From “Where does the food sold in Australian supermarkets really come from?” by Jessica Burke:

One in every four grocery items now sold in Australian supermarkets is private label and of those, about one in two is imported.

The Age has conducted an investigation into the state of the supermarket sector, and the results would not surprise anyone in the Australian food manufacturing sector. It found the rate of imported food products is increasing at a rapid pace, as the only way for the companies to provide their ridiculously low prices is to buy food produced in countries by cheap labour.

South Africa and Thailand, two countries notorious for lacking in workers’ rights and having extremely low wages, are two of the markets commonly used by the cheap food retailers in Australia.  Researchers from the Australian National University embarked on a mission to follow the supply chain of many private-label products sold in Australia, which found them in South African fruit processing factories and canned pineapple facilities in Thailand. “One of the canneries made private-label products for over 100 supermarkets,” researcher Libby Hattersley, who inspected the South African businesses, told The Age. “They just slap the retailers’ label on it and send it out to them.”

Differing food safety laws a risk for consumers

While the ethical issues involved with sourcing food from such countries are becoming increasingly important to consumers, there are various other issues involved with these systems.

“[No Australian food manufacturers] can survive in this environment, most places I’m going, they’re even competing with their own plants in other countries, if the Malaysian or Chinese plant is going better, they have to compete,” Jennifer Dowell, National Secretary of the Food and Confectionary division of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU) told Food Magazine earlier this year.

“The problem with that is that people aren’t comparing like with like.

“We produce food to a very high level and what is being imported from overseas needs to be the same quality.

“There needs to be more regulation and better testing for what comes into our country.

“If food is imported from a high risk site, like China, that will undergo testing, but not if it’s from New Zealand.

“The way the import laws work in New Zealand mean that they can import a product from China, put it in a bag in New Zealand and ship it to Australia as a ‘product of New Zealand.’

“If we try to export to other countries we face huge barriers, but we have removed all the barriers for others getting food into our country.”


Read the full article by Jessie Burke for Food Magazine.

Goulburn Valley Food Co-Operative: Open for membership

Posted in Movements, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on May 25th, 2012

Photo by angelanoel via flickr CC

In late May 2011, Heinz Australia announced what it termed “productivity initiatives to accelerate future growth”. Translated, that meant it was shifting production from plants in Girgarre, Brisbane and Wagga Wagga to New Zealand – 344 jobs would disappear, including all 146 positions at Girgarre which would affect 600 in the Goulburn Valley.

This film captures the effort by farmers, workers and the community to establish a Cooperative Food Hub in the Valley.

In the 12 months since the Heinz announcement, the GV Food Cooperative project has:

  • Brought together expertise across the whole ‘paddock to plate’ food chain
  • Developed new food products based on consumer demand for local produce
  • Found a site for a new factory in Kyabram (20 km from Girgarre)
  • Organised the finances to get this started and is now seeking additional support so that it can be producing Australian Grown food products within the next 12 months.

If you are interested in supporting the GV Food Cooperative please click here.


Yarra Council Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee: Call for nominations

Posted in Movements, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on March 6th, 2012

Photo: London Permaculture via flickr CC

[Yarra City] Council is calling for nominations from the community to join a committee that will provide advice on the development, management and promotion of community gardening activities in Yarra. These activities can include plot-divided community gardens, street planter boxes, nature strip gardens and productive trees planted in public spaces.

The Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee (UAAC) will provide advice to Council on urban agriculture policies and further refine the interpretation and application of the Urban Agriculture Guidelines adopted by Council in June 2011. Community members will serve in an advisory and advocacy role to provide input on the options and challenges for urban agriculture activities, feedback on new initiatives/products as they become available and knowledge on trends.

The committee is expected to meet four times a year and is open to anyone interested in promoting the development of community gardening activities in Yarra.  Councillors, Council officers and area experts will also serve on the committee.

Find out more on the Yarra City Council website.

Nominations close March 16th.

FareShare: looking for volunteer market gardeners

Posted in Models, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on February 29th, 2012

FareShare, formerly known as One Umbrella, is an innovative, energetic organisation, rescuing food and fighting hunger.

Since 2001 we have given away healthy, nutritious meals to the hungry and the homeless in Victoria, using food donated by businesses. By ‘rescuing’ food, we mean that it would otherwise be wasted, ending up in landfill. And in saving food from landfill, we also do our bit for the planet by helping to cut methane pollution and reducing demand for new food products. (See our environmental report prepared by Hyder Consulting.)

We are a small, not-for-profit community organisation operating on a very small budget, and with no operational funding from government. But through the tremendous passion and commitment of staff, volunteers and supporters, we continue to increase the amount of food we rescue and nutritious meals we prepare and give away to charities.

We want to establish a crew of volunteers to work in a market garden in the Oakleigh/Clayton area on Wednesdays from 9am to about 4pm. The vegies you will be cultivating and harvesting will be donated back to the FareShare kitchen. This could be each Wed, or fortnightly or monthly. Healthy exercise in the fresh open air – a great way to give back to the community!

Please email to find out more information and to get you started volunteering with FareShare.

Transition Darebin hosts Nicole Foss (The Automatic Earth)

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on January 20th, 2012

19 February , 2012

Nicole Foss is one of those big picture people who understands and explains the links between the converging pressures affecting the globe (peak oil, climate change, financial crisis) and the implications for our everyday lives. Nicole explains why a period of deflation is likely and discusses household and community preparation strategies. Nicole is a systems analyst who lives in Canada and blogs under the name Stoneleigh with writing partner “Ilargi” at The Automatic Earth.

Transition Darebin is cohosting an all day workshop with Nicole and Steve Keen on Sun 19th February.

>>Flyer and Booking details

Check out the Transition Darebin post for information about other Nicole Foss events in Melbourne.

Local Harvest Australia: Connecting and supporting local consumers & producers

Posted in Movements, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on December 14th, 2011

Local Harvest is a new national initiative aiming to help people find local sources of food and grow their own.

A directory of sustainable food in Australia
A national directory for finding food co-ops, swap meets, community gardens, farmers markets, box systems, organic retailers and more by simply entering your postcode.

Helping you to produce your own
DIY alternatives for food production and meeting essential needs, including resources for growing and making your own.

Local Harvest Challenge
Take up the Local Harvest Challenge, where for one week you attempt to reduce the ‘degrees of separation’ from your food. Based on the Household Action Challenge run in previous years.

There is a fantastic similar resource existing for the USA found at on which this project has been based.

Local Harvest will launch in February 2012, and is currently has a funding call-out on Pozible.  Check out the website to find out more.

Detroit’s Urban Roots: The Big Picture at Ross House

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 7th, 2011

8 November , 2011
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

Photo credit: Urban Roots Film

Urban Roots:

The industrial powerhouse of a lost American era has died, and the skeleton left behind is present-day Detroit. But now, against all odds in the empty lots, in the old factory yards, and in-between the sad, sagging blocks of company housing, seeds of change are taking root. A small group of dedicated citizens, allied with environmental and academic groups, have started an urban environmental movement with the potential to transform not just a city after its collapse, but also a country after the end of its industrial age. >>More about Urban Roots

The Big Picture:

On the first Tuesday of every month (except public holidays), Ross House presents The Big Picture – films for environmental and social justice. Entry is by donation, the proceeds of which go towards environmental action. Sometimes this means that it goes to the group hosting the event, or it goes to greening Ross House. Mulled wine and popcorn are always available (also by donation), and usually we have a group chat about the issue being watched. It’s a lot of freaking fun. >>More about The Big Picture

Next screening, URBAN ROOTS, on Tuesday 8 November 2011 at 6pm at Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Melbourne’s Food Policy: Get Involved

Posted in Events, Movements, Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on November 4th, 2011

16 November , 2011
6:00 pmto8:30 pm
17 November , 2011
9:30 amto12:00 pm

You have the opportunity to shape the future of food in the City of Melbourne and we’d love you to get involved – we’re engaging with stakeholders, industry organisations and the community. The Food Policy discussion paper is now available. The closing date for feedback is COB Friday 9 December, 2011.

Food Forums:

City of Melbourne will be holding food conversations in November. The following two dates are confirmed, check back for further details of any subsequent sessions:

  • Industry / Stakeholder Food Conversation
    • Date: Thursday 17 November Time: 9.30am – 12pm (Morning Tea provided)
    • Venue: Melbourne Town Hall – Supper Room, 120 Swanston Street, Melbourne
    • RSVP to:
  • Community / Residents Conversation
    • Date: Wednesday 16 November Time: 6pm – 8.30pm (light refreshments provided)
    • Venue: Visy Park (Carlton Football Club) – George Harris Function Room, Royal Parade, Carlton North
    • RSVP to:

What does food mean to you? Keep your eye out for our reply paid postcard at City of Melbourne libraries, community centres and recreation centres. Complete the card and return it to us by 30 November for your chance to win an iPad2!

Extract from the Food Policy Discussion Paper:

Melbourne is world-renowned for the quality of its food and its liveability, and we want it to stay that way.

We want to make sure that everyone in Melbourne can enjoy good food, now and reliably into the future. For many of us, Melbourne’s food is a cause for celebration – we have ready access to a wide variety of high-quality foods all year-round, which we enjoy at home and in a diverse and thriving scene of cafes, restaurants, bars and other outlets. These and other related businesses are an important part of our local economy, providing diverse jobs, opportunities and enterprise.

For others, there are real challenges in consistently being able to get the food they need. Limited choices often combined with poor physical or economic access undermines health and contributes to food insecurity. Those of us who do have ready access to the foods we want also often eat in ways that undermine our health.

It is increasingly apparent that food systems and the health of the natural systems that support them (our land, water and atmosphere) are unsustainable. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to a changing climate and reduce oil vulnerability in the food system, are pressing. These issues are emerging as important global concerns. Cities around the world are recognising the important role they can play in leading and catalysing change towards healthy, sustainable, fair and resilient food systems.

The community has articulated a vision for Melbourne as a “bold, inspirational and sustainable city” – this discussion paper starts the conversation about what this means for food.

Find out more on the City of Melbourne website.

St Kilda Community Kitchen: Renovated and Reopened

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on November 2nd, 2011

Via Port Philip Urban Fresh Food Network (PPUFFN)

“The kitchen is back in operation after recent renovations and the room looks fantastic. It’s great to see delicious dishes, aromas, and laughter filling the kitchen once more.PPUFFN October Newsletter

The St Kilda Community Kitchen is a community-run weekly activity that is based on the idea that we all get stuck on cooking the same recipes day in, day out. But, while those recipes might be tired and boring to one person, they’re completely new and exciting to others! Each week people from backgrounds come together to have fun socialising and cooking, all the while expanding their cooking repertoire. So if you’ve ever wanted to learn a few more cooking skills, this is a great and engaging way to do it!

With everybody pitching in their ideas and skills in this way, you don’t need to be an expert to join in the fun, since it’s really about enjoying the experience of cooking in a relaxed and friendly group setting. In this way, a fantastic group cohesion is created that strengthens the local St Kilda community on the journey to preparing a delicious feast!

WHEN: Every Monday from 6:30pm ’til around 8:30pm. Come and stay for as much or as little as you like!

WHERE: Corner of 114 Inkerman St & Bath St, St Kilda. Enter off Bath St and look for the signs pointing to the Community Room.

COST: FREE!! All you’ll need to prepare a delicious feast is provided, just be sure to bring your appetite!

The St Kilda Community Kitchen uses food that is kindly provided by SecondBite. SecondBite is an innovate organisation dedicated to the redistribution of surplus fresh food from local food donors directly to local community groups. This sustainable and award winning program was created in 2009 to further SecondBite’s mission of making a positive difference to people by identifying sources of surplus fresh food that might otherwise go to waste. SecondBite is always looking to engage more volunteers. For more information on how you can be involved, go to