Food security is a major concern for vulnerable communities in Victoria, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this complex issue for many people due to a range of reasons, not limited to changes in employment, disruptions to the food supply, increased prices of fresh produce and restrictions on movement.
One in four Victorian families were left to rely on unhealthy food due to home budget pressures during the first coronavirus lockdown.
In April 2020, VicHealth established the Food Systems and Food Security COVID-19 Working Group to understand and coordinate collective efforts to improve access and availability to healthy food for all Victorians. The Working Group consists of a diverse group of stakeholders from a range of sectors, including state and local government, community health, food relief, social enterprise, research and academia and other food organisations and networks.
Since its establishment, this platform has enabled:
- new collaborations within and across sectors to address emerging issues
- sharing of expertise and resources
- exploration of the opportunities to strengthen our food system and fix the cracks through a news article and live, interactive event as part of VicHealth’s Life and Health Re-imagined series
- new connections between organisations working across the food system
- joint advocacy letters to Minister for Agriculture regarding investing in Victoria’s regional food system and farmers
- the development of a shared vision for a healthy, sustainable, equitable and resilient food system in Victoria