Greater Bendigo’s Food System Strategy Annual Report has been launched, detailing the ways the City, community and leading organisations are working together to create a more healthy, equitable and sustainable food system for everyone. The report outlines a summary of the progress made on key actions for the Strategy’s implementation, and celebrates the great progress that has been made.
It was a challenging year with lockdowns, restrictions and associated impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These impacts have had a significant influence on the food system, contributing to an increase in people seeking emergency food relief, disruptions to supply chains and difficulty recruiting a seasonal harvest workforce. Despite this there has been great progress made on the actions of the Strategy with work progressing on 93 of the Strategy’s 107 actions.
Highlights from the report include:
- The Healthy Heart of Victoria Schools Kitchen Garden Project saw seven primary schools and two early learning centres participate in the project. Participating schools and centres were supported with education sessions and funding for infrastructure and resources. Healthy Heart of Victoria and the City will continue to support schools and early learning centres to incorporate food education into their curriculum.
- The City, Healthy Greater Bendigo and Kalianna School hosted the Sowing the Seeds to Success event at PepperGreen Farm in March 2021. This event brought together community members who are involved in or interested in school and community gardening to learn, share knowledge and network. This event also offered an opportunity to launch the Bendigo Community Garden Network and the City’s community garden info hub.
- Piloting the Healthy Sports Rewards project, providing vouchers from local sport and recreation facilities to sporting clubs to reduce fast-food rewards in junior sport. Ten clubs from eight different sports participated over the 2021 winter sport season and the program will continue over the summer season.
- Completing a Healthy Food Basket study and instore marketing audit to investigate the cost and affordability of a healthy basket of food and examine the marketing and promotion practices of stores with the assistance of Monash University Master of Nutrition & Dietetics students. This study will be repeated in future to track affordability and marketing within supermarkets across Greater Bendigo.
- Assisting with development of the Climate Change & Environment Strategy 2021-2026. The strategy includes sustainable food system targets and actions and food systems elements included in several flagship projects that will be undertaken to progress many of the strategy’s actions.
- The Bendigo Visitor Centre developed the ‘Good Living Pack’ that contains healthy, local food and drink items from across the region. The hamper retails for $45.95.