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Building better food systems for healthier communities


Increasing access to healthy food and drink options positively impacts children and young people’s diets and supports their mental wellbeing and development. Creating positive change in the local food system also presents wider health, social, economic and environmental sustainability benefits for the whole community. 

Download module here

The food system is a complex web of supply chain activities from paddock to plate. Today’s food system sees children and young people disconnected from how their food is produced while also increasingly bombarded by unhealthy food and drink marketing.  

Unhealthy food marketing and environments influence children and young people’s food preferences, attitudes and consumption and can normalise diets that include excess unhealthy food and drinks. Urgent action is required to assist our future generations to become active food citizens. This can be achieved by creating local and healthy food systems and giving children and young people oppor tunities to actively engage in the issues and solutions. 


What are the benefits for councils?  

This module will support your council to:

  • align your Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan actions with the ‘increasing healthy eating ’ and ‘tackling the health impacts of climate change’ focus areas outlined in the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2019–2023
  • strengthen the capacity of the community to make positive changes to their local food system
  • create opportunities to involve children and young people in conversations around their local food system
  • provide healthy food retail environments in council-owned facilities frequented by children and young people 
  • lead the way in creating spaces and places frequented by young people that are free from unhealthy food and alcohol sponsorship and marketing
  • ensure council-owned places and spaces are supportive of breastfeeding as par t of a healthy star t to life
  • develop strategies to address food security to help meet targets set under municipal COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Plans
  • contribute to a thriving local food economy, distinguished by greater connections between producers and consumers and increased opportunities for local small business enterprises
  • ensure all residents enjoy their basic human right of physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food at all times. 


What you'll find in this module 


Impact Stream: Creating thriving local food systems 

Councils under taking this impact stream can expect to: 

  • co-design local food solutions with and for children and young people in the community  
  • address food security and foster social connectedness 
  • build a local and thriving food system 
  • design and deliver healthy and more sustainable local food procurement. 


Impact Stream: Embedding healthy food and drink options in council owned and operated places 

Councils under taking this impact stream can expect to: 

  • increase children and young peoples’ access to healthy food and drink options in council-owned facilities 
  • increase community desire and expectations for healthy food retail environments, making it the norm in spaces frequented by children and young people 
  • build connections with local producers, suppliers and caterers to support the local economy 
  • increase commitment to sourcing and purchasing more local and sustainable food.   


Impact Stream: Using healthy rewards and sponsorships in community activities 

Councils are required to action the following  

  • reduce the exposure of unhealthy food, drink and alcohol marketing to children and young people 
  • ensure that council-run community initiatives aren’t undermined by engagement with companies that produce and promote products that are harmful to health and wellbeing 
  • see a reduced reliance by community groups on incentives from unhealthy food and drink providers 
  • offer support to grassroots clubs and other organisations to celebrate children’s involvement in sports, cultural activities or the arts in an active and healthy way.


Impact Stream: Enabling healthy partnerships

Councils under taking this impact stream can expect to:

  • make community organisations and grant applicants more aware of the negative attitude towards, and harms caused by, harmful industry partnerships in the community 
  • ensure that community organisations and grant applicants prioritise healthy partnerships over harmful industry partnerships
  • develop and star t to implement a harmful industry funding policy that allows council to take into account applicant partnerships with harmful industries when assessing community grant applications or all grant applications across council. 

Return to our main Fast-track council web page here.

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022

VicHealth acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We pay our respects to all Elders past, present and future.

This website may contain images, names and voices of deceased people.

VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.


Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more