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Food systems

What we eat, where we buy food and how we dispose of food is more complex than we think. How are these choices influenced by the world around us?

What is a food system? 

The food system is a complex web of activities influencing the access, availability and affordability of healthy, sustainable and culturally appropriate food.  

Growing food on a farm, selling produce at a market and the disposal of food waste are all parts of the food system.  

Two circles on a page, one is purple, inside the other is a picture of people irregating a farm.

Unpacking the complex food system

Programs and projects
5 min read
21 Sep 2020

How does food influence our health and wellbeing? 

Food systems are one of the greatest levers to positively transform our health and wellbeing of people and communities in Victoria. How, why and what food is produced, accessed and consumed all have major ramifications for the health of individuals, communities and society. Many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer are closely related to the food we eat. 

Photo of 2 people eating salads A market stall with carrots, beetroot, radishes and fennel all with their leafy tops on.

How the food system has changed

Traditional food systems from First Nation ancestors in Victoria nourished the environment and its people. Harvesting, growing, and hunting were regenerative. And the food was healthy, shared and deeply connected to culture and tradition. Today’s food systems act and look very differently contributing to environmental degradation and the growing disconnection between communities and the food they eat. Our work in this space is about reshaping food systems that respond to today's context while acknowledging and learning from traditional practices. 

A child is kneeling in the garden pointing to the beans that are growing in the soil. They are wearing overalls and yellow gumboots. Close up of hands making a green sauce using a mortar and pestle.

We can't do it alone 


Together with our partners, we’ll explore ways to support and improve the production, processing, transport, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food. Providing fairer access to healthy, culturally appropriate, affordable, and sustainable food for communities across Victoria. 

Three children are watering a vegetable garden.

Food Systems: related content

Programs and projects
6 min read
5 Apr 2022
Signpost image   <p><span class="h3">Other systems in our new 10 year strategy</span></p>

Other systems in our new 10 year strategy

VicHealth is committed to addressing the systems influencing our health and wellbeing. It's by focusing the majority of our efforts on three, we will be able to create real impact and add value to the lives of Victorians.

Illustration of a city with lots of green space and people on footpaths and bikes

Start at the beginning...

Landing page
7 min read
18 Jul 2023
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 about this artwork.