Over 49 per cent of the Baw Baw Shire population are not eating the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and an increasing number of residents are concerned about food security.
Food Sensitive Planning and Urban Design Workshops, ran by council, reveal those at greater risk of food insecurity (no reliable access to affordable, nutritious food) include the elderly, low income households, children and residents living in remote areas of the shire.
Representatives from 12 different departments of council, Health and Human Services, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, West Gippsland Healthcare Group, Warragul Farmer’s Market, Baw Baw Food Hub, and Baw Baw Food Movement were all in attendance.
Baw Baw Shire Mayor, Joe Gauci, said the intention of the workshops was to provide participants the chance to explore the complex causes of food insecurity and how the environment can influence people’s ability to access affordable, healthy food.
In addition, the workshops explored how food relates to and can be built into participant’s work to achieve the key objective of building a local, healthy and accessible food system in the Baw Baw Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (2013-17).
“Over the past 5 years extensive local research has demonstrated significant evidence of food insecurity within Baw Baw, with a number of complex, interrelated causative factors. This lead to the development of the Baw Baw Food Security Recommendations Report, and the establishment of the Baw Baw Food Security Coalition in 2012″, Cr Gauci said.
Feedback from the sessions was mostly positive with 78 per cent of respondents suggesting they gained a better understanding of how food and health relate to their work and intend to apply what they had learnt to their work.