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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.

CERES: Fair Food is Safe Food

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on March 6th, 2012

This announcement update released Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 8:00 am. Original released, Sunday, March 4th, 2012

On Sunday morning, an article in The Sunday Age alleged that produce from CERES Organic Farms was contaminated.

CERES Fair Food was established to better connect people with some of Victoria’s best organic producers. Produce sourced by CERES Fair Food comes from certified organic farms, which are subject to strict certification criteria relating to pesticides and other chemicals.

Our members have never been exposed to potential health risks resulting from contaminated produce. A small proportion of our produce is sourced from CERES Harding Street Farm. This site has never even been in question.

The Age article has caused some confusion with the members of CERES Fair Food, regarding the safety of produce grown in the CERES Honey Lane Market Garden and community garden plots.

The facts of the matter are as follows:

In mid-2011 a group of tertiary students conducted some research at CERES Community Environment Park comparing produce irrigated with mains water and with storm water. The students advised CERES they had found some elevated levels of lead in some produce samples collected at CERES.

In response, CERES Community Environment Park withdrew all produce grown at the CERES Honey Lane Market Garden from sale, and commenced laboratory testing of produce as a precautionary measure. The tests revealed normal levels in the CERES Honey Lane Market Garden where produce for sale onsite at CERES is sourced.

The only produce sample that showed results slightly higher than the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was grown in one community garden plot. CERES informed the community gardeners and facilitated further produce testing in the community gardens.

CERES Community Environment Park also informed Moreland City Council and, with the EPA, they have commenced their own testing of produce. The results from the final series of tests in the community garden plots have yet to be reported to CERES. However, CERES has been verbally advised that the EPA is not classing CERES as a contaminated site and there is no public health risk. CERES is now waiting to receive this advice in writing.

For a full statement issued by the CERES Chairperson Robert Larocca, please click here.

VicHealth- Good Health for All

Posted in Models, RDAG by Virginia on May 4th, 2009

The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) is a statutory authority with an independent chair and board of governance established by the Victorian Parliament as part of the Tobacco Act 1987.


VicHealth works in partnership with organisations, communities and individuals to promote good health and prevent ill-health. VicHealth funds local councils to improve access to nutritious food and to influence the cultural, social, economic and environmental barriers poor and disadvantaged communities face in eating healthily.

In terms of landuse planning, VicHealth and the Planning Institute of Australia have also established the Planning for Health and Wellbeing project to advocate for planning systems to promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable communities.

For more information about the Planning for Health and Wellbeing project see

To find out more about VicHealth’s Food for All project visit Program.aspx.

This is from “Social Innovations in Victorian Food Systems”, case studies by Ferne Edwards.