2005 – 2010 Last updated: 22 Sep, 2020

The accessibility, affordability and sustainability of healthy food options is essential for good health.

VicHealth's Food for All program aimed to help people to regularly access and consume a variety of nutritious foods, particularly fruit and vegetables. The program was run over five years in partnership with local government and concentrated on priority populations.


Food for All aimed to encourage local government authorities to improve integrated planning of key factors that influence access to food: transport, housing, economic development and land use. Participating local councils took the lead in reducing barriers to accessing healthy foods in their communities.


A number of resources were developed to assist local government to address food security issues.


Annual Food for All forums provided the opportunity to share findings from funded projects. The forums were attended by councillors, researchers, practitioners, planners, policy makers, food producers and other interested members of the community. They highlighted the outcomes, successes and key knowledge gained from the Food for All projects.

Funded projects View more

Eight local government areas were funded to reduce local infrastructure barriers to food security.


Download: Food for All: How local government is improving access to nutritious food


Brimbank City Council
Brimbank City Council aimed to improve access to fresh food for disadvantaged groups. The program set up a fresh food delivery service for elderly residents and developed community gardens to address local food supply issues. It also developed an information pack and education program for new arrivals, to familiarise them with local fresh food offerings.


Cardinia Shire & City of Casey
Cardinia Shire Council and the City of Casey worked together to address transport and food access issues in council planning reform. This project saw the development of the ‘Farm to Plate’ education program and the development of school-based community gardens. The councils also developed a food distribution program in partnership with local producers and service agencies, and encouraged fast-food retailers to provide nutritious and affordable food through an award scheme.


City of Greater Dandenong
City of Greater Dandenong sought to strengthen partnerships with community service providers to address local food security issues of access and affordability. They developed policies and planning around food security, housing, community centres and neighbourhood houses. The project identified facilities for the development of community kitchens and provided support to community gardens. The council also improved promotion of local free bus services and low-cost meal options at selected cafés.


Frankston City Council
The Frankston City Council Food for All project formed a Food Security Advisory Group to increase access to healthy food in Frankston. This led to the development of a council food security policy, as well as a horticultural training program to complement community garden initiatives. The council also worked to raise awareness of food security issues among community welfare workers.


Maribyrnong City Council
The Maribyrnong City Council project aimed to improve access to and supply of fresh fruit and vegetables through bulk-buying schemes and home delivery services. The council developed workshops, mentoring and community education programs to raise awareness of food security issues within local government and other local organisations.


Melton Shire Council
Melton Shire Council established a Veg Out Van to provide a fresh fruit and vegetable delivery service, delivering to key community outlets. The council also encouraged businesses to increase their supply of fresh, healthy food.


Swan Hill Rural City Council
Swan Hill Rural City Council encouraged local retailers to stock healthier food choices, and also worked to provide healthier food choices in tuck shops and local government venues. Council also improved transport options for people to access food retailers. The project also saw the implementation a ‘rent to own’ program for appliances such as fridges to improve home cooking options.


Wodonga City Council
Wodonga City Council incorporated food security issues into council planning. Wodonga’s Food for All project also expanded the Food Security Network and improved the nutritional value and variety of Meals on Wheels options. A pre-school healthy eating initiative was also implemented.

Evaluation View more

The final report of the five-year VicHealth project highlights the significant gains in awareness of food security at local government levels and the strategies that helped reduce some barriers, and identifies the changes needed to reduce others.


Download: Food for All 2005-10 program evaluation report

Resources for local governments View more

A series of information sheets and videos were designed to assist local government in advancing a food security agenda. They describe ten broad categories of action to take to assist residents, especially those vulnerable to food security, with access to affordable, culturally appropriate, and healthy foods.


Download: Overview
Watch video: Food for All trailer


1. Allocate responsibility
To have food security accepted as a legitimate area for local action and policy, it’s important to assign the role of driving the food security agenda within Council and the community to a specific staff member. This information sheet describes actions and strategies that local government can take to implement this recommendation.

Watch video: Allocate responsibility


2. Building the local picture
An invaluable resource for local government can be produced by summarising the key food security issues and local evidence into one document. This information sheet describes the strategies council can use to build this evidence base.

Watch video: Building the local picture


3. Policy and plans
Integrating food security into policy and planning is vital to ensure food security is firmly on the council agenda. This information sheet highlights the actions that local government can take to incorporate food security into policy and plans.

Watch video: Policy and plans


4. Setting a good example
The information sheet describes how council can model ways of supporting healthy eating choices and raise the profile of healthy food access strategies through its own activities.


5. Regulatory and fiscal power
Local government can consider using its regulatory and fiscal powers to increase the supply of healthy food and decrease the supply of unhealthy food. The information sheet describes various ways that local government can use its local-level regulatory role.

Watch video: Regulatory and fiscal power


6. Land use planning
Land use planning is one of the most challenging areas in which to embed food security thinking. Food for All identified that intensive consultation and awareness-raising to council planners of the link between land use planning and food security is essential. This information sheet explores strategies in working with planners to incorporate food security into planning decisions.

Watch video: Land use planning


7. Healthy eating for residents
This information sheet describes how local government, ideally in partnership with appropriate agencies, can assist residents in increasing their understanding of how to access and cook healthy meals.

Watch video: Healthy eating for residents


8. Growing food locally
Local government can play a significant role in supporting gardening initiatives and ensuring council and community actions are complementary. This information sheet describes various options local governments can consider.

Watch video: Growing food locally


9. Getting food and residents together
The councils participating in Food for All supported a number of strategies seeking to address hurdles to getting people to food and food to people. This information sheet identifies how local government can work in partnership to increase residents’ access to fresh foods.

Watch video: Getting food and residents together


10. Advocacy
The Food for All program demonstrated that many barriers to food security stem from systems that local government cannot directly alter. This information sheet highlights the areas where local government can advocate on behalf of its residents to influence food insecurity.

Watch video: Advocacy