Food Security – Baw Baw

Food security is an individual or community’s ability to access healthy, affordable and appropriate food. Food insecurity can therefore be defined as having limited or irregular access to safe and secure nutritional food from a non-emergency source.
The Central West Gippsland PCP (CWGPCP) has achieved significant success in promoting individual and communities’ ability to access healthy, affordable and appropriate food in the Baw Baw LGA.

Baw Baw Food Security Coalition

Food insecurity was prioritised in the Central West Gippsland region in 2007. Subsequently, research and food system mapping was undertaken, which showed that the individuals found to be most affected by food insecurity in Central West Gippsland include the people on low incomes, older people, young people and people living in isolated areas. The result of this research was a Food Security Recommendation Report which was published in 2012 and provided guidance on the types of interventions that the CWGPCP and its partners could implement in order to tackle food insecurity. The Baw Baw Food Security Coalition was then developed to lead this work in the Baw Baw Shire.

The Baw Baw Food Security Coalition was established in 2012. The Coalition is comprised of a Strategic Planning Working Group that sits within Council, a Community Food Access Network known as the Baw Baw Food Movement, and an Emergency Food Relief Network.

These three working groups bring together local government, community health, emergency relief agencies, primary producers, retailers, community gardens and the community who work collaboratively towards improving food security in Baw Baw.

The overall aim of the Coalition is to increase access to, and consumption of, healthy and nutritious food for the Baw Baw community by:

  • increasing local planning and action
  • implementing evidence based interventions
  • supporting community led food solutions

The Baw Baw Food Movement is currently implementing the 2020-2021 Food Security Action Plan. A copy of the plan can be accessed here.

The below reports detail the history and impact of the Baw Baw Food Security Coalition since its initial development in 2012, and presents the project outcomes that have been achieved in the Action Plan:

The Coalition has resulted in many positive outcomes including increased food security, increased collaboration and action, improved access and availability to healthy food, and fruit and vegetable consumption above the state average.

Baw Baw Emergency Relief Directory

The Baw Baw Emergency Relief Directory helps those in need identify emergency relief services and support when they need it most. Developed by CWGPCP, Baw Baw Shire Council and the Baw Baw Emergency Food Relief Network this directory can help you find fresh food, produce, groceries and personal items, transport vouchers, housing and other support.

Find more information about this project, click here.

Food Security Projects and Research

Over the past 10 years, CWGPCP has undertaken a large number of research and evaluation projects in partnership with community and partner agencies. This has resulted in an extensive evidence base being developed that includes detailing interventions, monitoring of local food security indicators and the evaluation of projects. Recent reports include:

Victorian Healthy Food Basket Survey: Baw Baw

The Victorian Healthy Food Basket assesses the affordability of a healthy diet. These reports provide a current snapshot of the cost and availability of fresh, nutritious food in supermarkets and independent stores across Baw Baw.

Food Security in Drouin: 2020

CWGPCP has released a report measuring the food security status of residents in Drouin in 2020. This report provides an update on previous studies conducted in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019. The post measure of food security status shows an overall improvement in food security for all Drouin residents, yet at the same time identifies specific sub groups within the community who remain food insecure. Click here to read the report.

Improving Food Security For Residents in Baw Baw: Project Report: 2018

The Improving Food Security For Residents in Baw Baw Project Report, completed in collaboration with Monash University and the Baw Baw Food Security Coalition, discusses three projects which collectively contribute to CWGPCP’s work on improving food security for residents in Baw Baw.

Longwarry Intensive Food Security Project: 2018

CWGPCP has been working with the Longwarry community to implement the Longwarry Intensive Food Security Project since 2014. Over the years, the project has brought together community, agencies and local government to coordinate action on food security within the Longwarry community. The project has achieved a wide range of positive outcomes for the community and offers many lessons which can inform future food security projects in both Baw Baw and beyond.