The accessibility, affordability and sustainability of healthy food choices is essential for good health.
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 councilors, 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.
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.
To discover the full story read the Food for All 2005-10 program evaluation report. This report summarises the key evaluation findings, including valuable lessons learnt about the factors that help or hinder the promotion of food security through local government.