As our research had shown, there are over 300 Food Hubs in the US, plus multiple food hubs of a different kind, called Community Food Centres, in Canada. After visiting Canada I am a convert to the concept of combining programs and services under one roof, creating a one-stop-shop for all things to do with healthy eating, at the same time transforming the bandaid food bank charity model to one of empowerment and food literacy, with programs and services designed to improve people’s nutrition and prevent ill health, especially in communities that most need it. The best of preventive medicine.
Sustain. The Australian Food Network has led the conference process and along with a group of organisations, local government and academia, philanthropy, education providers, producers, emergency food relief and enterprise owners we have put together an Australian first. To inform our conversation about what is a Community Food Hub in Australia we have Kathryn Scharf from Community Food Centres Canada and Anthony Flaccavento from SCALE in Virginia, US, coming to add their vast experience to our discussions.
In addition we have a local food feast planned for the conference dinner and wonderful guest speaker in Bruce Pascoe, prize winning author of Dark Emu, who will speak about our Indigenous food heritage – an event not to be missed! even if you don’t attend the conference. Tickets are available here
Interest in the conference is building – and in addition Sustain has developed a national tour. Information about the full conference program (that will have a couple of small additions soon) can be found here. See you there!
Elsewhere, the connection between failed crops, food prices and civic unrest is now being told, where food security, linked to:
• Availability – a supply of fresh, healthy food,
• Access – whats close and affordable,
• Utilisation – knowing what to do with it and
• Stability of supply
is precarious for many.
Locally, the impact of food insecurity underpins the case for food growing to be supported in the home and in the community as a health promotion and disease prevention strategy. The new prevention requires a focus on the quadruple bottom line, where health, social, environmental and economic impacts are all part of the decision making process around programme design and funding for health promotion and disease prevention.
Its time for creative thinking about our cities, reviewing health and community infrastructure to make inroads into the ‘food desert’ phenomenon, where fresh produce is not easily available, underpinning postcodes of disadvantage when it comes to health outcomes.
Now’s the time to start growing some of our own fruit and vegetables. Support for this should be government funded and sit in all public health and disease prevention plans as a priority strategy to address the obesity crisis and the diabetes epidemic.
Community Food Hubs could be a popular way of repurposing infrastructure available in community health centres and community and neighbourhood houses to becomes community food centres and hubs of healthy eating and social connection. Community interest in community kitchens, markets, gardens, food swaps, seed exchanges, education programs and support for local food producers means that it is timely to integrate these features into community facilities. The time is now for ‘The New Prevention’.
Food and Urbanism. The Convivial City and a Sustainable Future by Susan Parham (Bloomsbury, 2015).
Susan Parham describes how cities of the future will need to have food as a key factor in planning their design and infrastructure development. Drawing from extensive international examples, Food and Urbanism provides a way to imagine cities centred around food as socially rich, productive and sustainable urban spaces.
These connections between food and place show that it is possible to incorporate food into the design process. In doing so the importance of the full food system: growing, transporting, buying, cooking, eating and disposing of food waste is highlighted.
This book shows how ‘Foodscaping’ will become a basic tool in the planning process and creation of resilient cities, conserving and extending green space while allowing for social connection to be a high priority in creating the cities of the future.