Our changing climate 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’.