Australian Community Food Hubs conference Bendigo August 8th & 9th

Last year, after completing a Food Hub Feasibility Study for the City of Greater Bendigo, followed by one for Wangaratta, and with one for Wyndham Council in our sites, it seemed that now may be the time to have a conference in Australia about food hubs – community food hubs in particular.

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.

Exciting times!

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!

Food Growing as ‘The New Prevention’

Our changing climThe Backyard Pharmacy at Maison Bleue large wicking bedate is predicted to worsen the obesity crisis in Australia, with availability and cost of fresh produce predicted to increase.

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’.

By |April 20th, 2016|Categories: Bringing People Together, Community Food Hubs, Creating Environmental Outcomes, Food Security, Growing Change, Local Community Food Initiatives|Comments Off on Food Growing as ‘The New Prevention’