VicHealth’s vision is to create a healthy, equitable, sustainable and resilient food system in Victoria that supports connected communities and good food for all. VicHealth has in the past played a key role in supporting healthy and sustainable food systems across Victoria.
The industrialisation and globalisation of today’s food system is driving numerous contemporary public health challenges including childhood and adult obesity, nutrition related chronic disease and climate change.
Together with our partners, we are working to drive food systems change in Victoria for better health, social and environmental outcomes. A food system that is fair and equitable - for farmers, people throughout the food supply chain, as well as the consumer; one that is sustainable, resilient and one that provides and prioritises nutritious and culturally appropriate food for all.
The impact of Coronavirus
Coronavirus is making visible the cracks in our food system. Rising unemployment and a growing economic crisis are exacerbating inequities in the system’s ability to deliver healthy food for all.
VicHealth’s COVID-19 Wellbeing Impact Survey found that:
- More Victorians are experiencing food insecurity - 17% of respondents reported worrying about having enough money to buy food during the coronavirus lockdown, compared to 9% in February 2020.
- One in four Victorians (23%) reported relying on a restricted range of low-cost unhealthy food because of financial concerns during the lockdown.
- 7% of Victorians ran out of food and couldn’t afford to buy more – this is substantially higher than the 2014 comparison survey result of 4%.
Efforts to improve food security and access to nutritious food has become an immediate priority.
Crises like coronavirus expose the cracks in complex systems, but they also reveal opportunities to strengthen them. They are transformative moments, when rapid responses to changing conditions point to innovative ways to leap forward. Coronavirus is a moment to reset the food system by placing health, equity, sustainability and resilience at the core of recovery.
Good food for all, how do we get there?
This illustration explores our Life and Health Re-imagined Panel on 25 June 2020. Coronavirus is testing the limits of Australia's food system - the complex web of supply chains that bring food from farm to fork. On the surface, our food system appears to have performed well. Though look a little deeper and the cracks in our food system become clear. From struggling farmers, right up the chain to people experiencing food insecurity, this event explored the opportunities to strengthen the chain and fix the cracks.
A framework for food systems change
The food system is a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, marketing, consumption and disposal of food. Issues concerning the food system include the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, how food production impacts the natural environment, the degree to which we waste food, and the impact of food on health and social outcomes.
Local governments have the opportunity to play an important role in transitioning to a local food system that provides good food for all. A number of local governments in Victoria have introduced food systems policies that aim to work towards healthy and sustainable food systems:
- Cardinia Shire Community Food Strategy
- City of Ballarat Good Food For All Food Strategy 2019-22
- Greater Bendigo's Food System Strategy 2020-2030
- Indigo Shire Local Food Policy 2020-23
- LaTrobe Health Innovation Zone Food for All Latrobe Valley
- City of Melbourne Food Policy
- Manningham City Council Food Security Plan 2016-21
- Moreland City Council Food System Strategy 2017-20
- North East Local Food Strategy 2018-22
- Surf Coast Shire Council Local Food Program 2018-21