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Our community want their plate full of local, healthy and abundant food

Frankston South Saints and Carrum Netball Club players at the launch of the Community Plate at the Frankston District Netball Association, Jubilee Park. Picture: Supplied. This photo was taken prior to Covid-19 restrictions.

This blog was written by Rebecca Long, a Health Promotion Practitioner at Peninsula Health.

The Community Plate (TCP) is a collective of local organisations, groups and individuals working together to realise our newly announced Community Aspiration, that ‘we are all connected to food that is local, healthy and abundant.’

TCP has dedicated a large amount of time to develop this Community Aspiration.

Over an 18 month period TCP held in depth discussions with a wide range of stakeholders and community members to develop this authentic, localised vision that will guide all future work.

“We spent a lot of time to ensure that we got our Community Aspiration right. We spoke with many, many people and developed an aspiration for The Community Plate that will progress work that genuinely represents what our region wants and needs,” says Rod Mackintosh, Chair of the Community Plate Leadership Group.

TCP came about in response to concerning trends around the rates of overweight and obesity in our region.

It is estimated that nearly 60% of residents in the South Eastern Region of Melbourne are currently overweight or obese and it’s no secret that the food and drinks we consume are a significant contributor to these rising numbers.

While nutrition plays a large role, TCP recognises that diet is not just an individual problem.

The contribution of social and environmental factors – for example the impact of our food system, how we make, grow, access, buy and consume food, has also become increasingly apparent.

Healthy environments are key to preventing this burden of disease.

During recent community conversations residents told us things like, “I would love to be buying more locally produced food but work and family commitments mean it’s hard to drive further to purchase food,” and “the cost of buying healthy food can be inhibitive, especially when you know you can get a whole meal deal for $5, even when you know its rubbish.”

So we know the interest is there but we need to work on fundamental issues such as access, affordability and availability.

Key organisations currently involved in TCP are Peninsula Health, Frankston City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire, the Frankston Mornington Peninsula Primary Care Partnership, the Department of Health and Human Services and Monash University.

Looking forward, TCP is going to be undertaking a wide range of initiatives and coordinating activities to help us realise our community aspiration.

This will include establishing a local Food Network and launching a localised social marketing campaign aimed at increasing vegetable intake in children.

Anyone with an interest in healthy, fresh food, strengthening the local food system and helping us realise our community aspiration is welcome to get involved.

To sign up go to www.communityplate.org.au or contact me (Rebecca Long, Health Promotion Practitioner) on 0432 960 870.

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