“WE are all connected to food that is local, healthy and abundant” is the ethos, or “Community Aspiration” of The Community Plate (TCP). This collective of Frankston and Mornington Peninsula people is working together to bring the best of the peninsula’s produce to the tables of everyone.
Over an 18 month period TCP held discussions with a wide range of interested parties to develop an authentic, local vision that will guide all of its future work.
Community Plate’s Rodney Mackintosh said: “We spent a lot of time ensuring 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.”
Key members 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.
The group has some stumbling blocks to overcome. In recent community conversations residents said things like: “I would love to buy 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 prohibitive, especially when you know you can get a whole meal for $5, even when you know it is rubbish.”
“This is evidence that the interest is there but we need to work on key issues, such as access, affordability and availability,” Mr Mackintosh said.
Peninsula Health’s Rebecca Long said there were concerning trends around the rates of overweight and obesity on the peninsula. “It is estimated that nearly 60 per cent of residents in the south eastern region of Melbourne are overweight or obese,” she said.
“The consumption of unhealthy food and drinks is 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.”
In the future TCP is planning to undertake a wide range of initiatives and will coordinate activities to help it realise its community aspiration. This includes establishing a local food network and running a localised social marketing campaign aimed at increasing vegetable intake in young children.
Anyone with an interest in healthy fresh food, strengthening the local food system and helping TCP realise its community aspiration is welcome to get involved.
Sign up at communityplate.org.au