La Trobe Food Forum: local food system change and what role for food hubs?

The inaugural Latrobe Food Forum was held on Wednesday 4 December, with 85 representatives from across the food system, including farmers, schools, businesses, Local and State government as well as community agencies, in attendance.

La trobe food forum pic 1


This was an opportunity to present the results of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) food system scan; the first step of Healthy Food Connect. Monash Nutrition and Dietetics students conducted the VLGA scan over eight weeks, consulting with over 120 local stakeholders.

The day was extremely successful with everyone participating in group discussions focusing on 12 opportunities for local food system change identified through the scan.

Thirty expressions of interest were received to form a local food coalition, with the next meeting being held in February 2014, to discuss the results of the food forum and identify membership for the food coalition. The event also attracted the attention of three local media outlets as well as good discussion being generated on social media. Gippsland ABC radio also picked up the story, generating lively discussion both on air and through their Facebook page – with below just a snap shot of some of the comments generated:

‘When I use to go shopping with mum when I was a kid…There was Everything in the Supermarkets…..but since that generation is dying off or leaving…..I’ve come to notice that the Supermarkets aren’t so super anymore….the vegi department is a third of its original size with less on offer, the deli is less….but we have now a whole isle of Coke….or Chips….and our main weekly specials are junk food.’

“No green grocer any more in Lakes Entrance¬†¬†just the supermarkets”

“Nobody poor goes to farmers markets. they are generally expensive and inconvenient. the sort of person at them is usually farly health concious and has reasonable finances”

The breakfast radio program also developed a challenge where the presenter aims to eat a healthy diet meeting the recommendations of two fruit and five vegetables while on a Newstart allowance budget.

One of the focus group discussions at the forum centred around food hubs as a possible intervention for creating food system change. With discussions continuing into the new year, and an active and interested community base its going to be well worth keeping an eye on developments in this neck of the woods!

La Trobe Food Forum pic