Food For All is a food security project funded by VicHealth. The aim of the project is to improve access to and consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables for healthy eating. Swan Hill Rural City is one of six Victorian municipalities involved in the Food For All project.
What Is Food Security?
Food ‘security' is having regular access to safe, nutritionally adequate, culturally acceptable food from non-emergency sources.
Being food ‘insecure' impacts on people's physical, mental and social wellbeing and ability to be independent and achieve employment.
Community Indicators Victoria Survey 2007 reported 8.6% of survey respondents in Swan Hill Rural City had experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months. This is higher than the reported Victorian State average of 6.0%.
Anyone can find themselves in a situation where they are unable to afford or access food. Drought, climate change, increasing prices of petrol and food, and housing stress have escalated issues related to not having enough food to eat, even in a community like ours where we actually produce a large amount of fresh food.
What is Healthy Eating?
Healthy eating is the foundation of overall good health and wellbeing. Healthy eating means eating nutritious food.
‘Nutritious' food is:
- A wide variety of food, in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Australians
- Balanced against the body's requirement for growth, metabolism and physical activity across the different life stages
- Consumed regularly and consistently
- Considered healthy when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet
Healthy eating is more than just good nutrition. Individuals also derive significant health and social wellbeing benefits through growing, cooking sharing and eating food with others.
For people to achieve healthy eating, they need to have access to a variety of affordable and nutritious foods.
Nutritious foods assists with physical vitality, social wellbeing and can hep prevent chronic disease.
Swan Hill Rural City Council Food For All Program has been working with community organisations and groups to increase access to fresh nutritious food and reduce food insecurity in our community.
Council aims to support best practice in as many places as possible where their services either provide or can influence food access and choice.
Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement has made changes to meals provided to school groups staying and participating in their Education Program. The food provided follows the Australian Guidelines to Healthy Eating with appropriate serves for children and adults. Special dietary requirements are met and the food and drinks prepared and provided is fresh and nutritious.
Children have the opportunity to cook and eat a hearty meat and vegetable stew and damper as part of the home life experience.
Gradual changes are being made to the food available from the Swan Hill Leisure Centre kiosk. The food available has been classified into the traffic light system with the aim of providing 40% green items, 40% amber and 20% red. Party menus have been altered to provide healthier items and healthier snack is provided for participants in the Youth Hour program.
Family Day Care, After School Care and Aged and Disability Services either support nutrition policies, provide nutritious foods to those in their care or ensure food is available and being consumed. These services are supported by Swan Hill Rural City Council and encouraged to ensure the health and wellbeing of the community.
The Food For All Program will endeavour to increase awareness and improve food security and nutrition for the community by supporting and taking opportunities to increase councils influence through policy, strategies, community plans and community services.
Current Programs in the Community
MANATUNGA GARDEN – ROBINVALE
At Manatunga Community Garden in Moore Street, Robinvale, beautiful seasonal produce is being grown under the watchful eye of Buck and Macca.
With the assistance of a Commonwealth Water Grant improved irrigation systems have been put in place including the installation of rain water tanks and extended dripper lines.
Communities for Children funding has provided opportunities for additions to the garden with an orchard being established with various varieties of fruit trees including, stone fruit, apples, figs, cherry and pears and olive trees have been planted around the perimetre.
A green house has been installed so seedlings can be raised and the garden can be more productive for a greater part of the year.
Buck and Macca are happy for anyone in the community to come and look at the garden and have a chat too them about what is being grown. If you have some expertise in growing a certain vegetable or fruit they are happy to hear of your secret. If you would like or need some of the seasonal produce you are very welcome to take enough for a meal.
SWAN HILL SPECIALIST SCHOOL COMMUNITY GARDEN/FARM PROJECT
The Swan Hill Specialist School Community Garden Farm is focused on providing community capacity building to meet the needs of young people and community through the provision of horticulture, natural resources management and hospitality activities. The Community Garden Farm will engage people from the Swan Hill Regional community and students from local schools to work with and mentor students from the Swan Hill Specialist School in authentic learning activities.
Commencing as a pilot project in 2006 the Garden/Farm project has evolved into a large garden that incorporates a vegetable garden, mandala garden, chicken pen, orchard, green house and outdoor classroom. Future plans include an outdoor kitchen and community area and auditorium.
Time in the garden is incorporated in the school curriculum allowing the students to plant, care for, cook and consume the produce they have helped to grow. This develops the skills of the students to be able to live independently. The gardens development has been supported by students from Swan Hill Secondary College, MacKillop College, TAFE, community programs and groups.
Now there are several people from the neighbourhood that volunteer their time assisting in the care and maintenance of the garden.
The garden was launched on 26 March 2009. The day's events can be viewed on www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2009/03/30/2530137.htm
The Robinvale Community Growers market commenced in January 2007 with the aim of providing local and regionally produced fresh seasonal foods and value added products. The Robinvale Community Growers market has been established following the guiding principals of a Farmers Market.
“A predominantly fresh food market that operates regularly within a community, at a focal public
location that provides a suitable environment for farmers and food producers to sell farm
origin and associated value-added processed food products directly to customers.”
Produce available includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, honey, preserves, plants, nuts and wines.
Also value added products such as bread, jams, cakes, sauces and chutneys are encouraged to be made and sold by community members using as much locally grown produce as possible.
The market will include community and health information and activities for children and families.
Home made specialty items are permitted but must be approved by the market committee prior to attending the market.
Third Saturday of each month
8.30AM until 12.30PM
Caix Square – George Street
Market Charter, General Information and Registration Form
FRIDGE ASSIST PROGRAM
The Fridge Assist Program has been developed to overcome the shortage of basic fresh food storage facilities in community households. Family resources, such as refrigerators play a vital role in a family's ability to store, prepare, cook and eat nutritionally adequate, culturally appropriate and safe foods.
The Aim Of The Fridge Assist Program:
To enable people in our community who meet the
Fridge Assist Program criteria purchase their own refrigerator.
The program provides financial literacy and basic budgeting tuition, a low interest loan with the set up fees waived and the opportunity to purchase a refrigerator at cost price plus GST.
Link info pack
GO KIDS PROJECT
Swan Hill District Health has developed the Go Kids Project as part of the Communities For Children Healthy Lifestyles strategy.
They have developed parent resources, newsletters, a media program, and hosted workshops and events to increase nutrition and physical activity of children throughout Swan Hill.
The Food For All Program supports the Go Kids program and has worked closely with the team to encourage local businesses to provide healthier food choices for children.
For more information and resources www.swanhillhosp.vic.gov.au - Go Kids
WORLDS LARGEST FRUIT SALAD
On 25 January 2008 the Swan Hill community and visitors cut and chopped 5.7 tonnes of peaches, nectarines, plums, oranges, melons, grapes and apples to break the record for the world's largest fruit salad. It was an amazing day that attracted attention from many parts of Australia. The day was filled with lots of conversation as volunteers worked diligently to create the amazing fruit salad. The day was a great success due to the people who volunteered which was recognised by winning the Community Event category at the inaugural Swan Hill Rural City Volunteer Awards in September 2008.
MARKET FRESH SCHOOLS PROGRAM
On April 28 and 30 2009 the Market Fresh Schools Program visited Swan Hill. The aim of the program presented by Melbourne Market Authority is to:
• To introduce children to fruit and vegetables that many have not previously experienced.
• Increase awareness of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables.
• Make learning about fruit and vegetables fun.
• Create new opportunities for learning about nutrition at school and home.
• Give children the confidence to try different products.
The program was presented to Swan Hill Primary, Swan Hill North Primary, Nyah District Primary, Piangil Primary, Tooleybuc Central and Beverford District Primary School with a total of 690 children from the age of 5 to 14 years attending.
The children had the opportunity to see and taste:
Celery, carrot, tomato, capsicum, mushroom, avocado, grapes,
apple, pear, banana, orange, mandarin, pineapple
For more information on the Market Fresh Schools Program www.marketfresh.com.au
SWAN HILL CULINARY CHALLENGE – PIONEERS WEEK
As part of Pioneers Week the Swan Hill Culinary Challenge was hosted by the Food For All Program. The event was an interactive and entertaining evening with Chef Ed Halmagyi celebrating food and wine of the region.
The evening provided an opportunity for hospitality students, apprentices and the public to watch Chef Ed Halmagyi cook a three course meal in fifteen minutes using a great range of local produce.
Students had a private session with Ed where they talked of the opportunities in the hospitality industry and had a lesson in making dessert canapés.
Carissa Legg of Mildura and Ryan Box of Swan Hill cooked in the Culinary Challenge showing their skills and innovation utilising the range of local seasonal produce available.
Comments on the evening event included:
“Ed was great, made everyone feel very welcome and included “
“Wine and food lovely and enough for the time allowed”