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Community Action on Food Security

By Fiona Hughes, Albury Wodonga Regional Food Security Network

When I was studying at university and living on a low wage, I struggled financially to access healthy nutritious food, my diet was based on vegemite on toast and 2-minute noodles. Fortunately for me, I have learnt how to grow, prepare and cook healthy meals on a budget so my current access to food is adequate. With the recent natural disasters in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, the vulnerability of our local food supply has been exposed. There is, and will be for some time, instability in the availability of delicious fruits and vegetables which we are usually privilege to have access to, this will impact each and everyone of us.

This shortage of food entering the food supply is one of three components of food security. The other two components are; economic and physical access to food and food utilisation. Approximately 8.3% of Wodonga residents experienced food insecurity in 2007, so what is being done locally to ensure Albury Wodonga are food secure?’  

Since the implementation of the Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare Project in mid-2009, over 77 000kg of food has been rescued from local supermarkets, backyards and farmers crops which would have otherwise gone to waste. This food is then redistributed by 22 emergency relief agencies, schools and neighbourhood houses to those who are struggling to make ends meet. The volunteers at the FoodShare centre are always seeking food donations through the Street Harvest project, which collects excess produce from backyards and farmers crops.

The FoodShare project was a dream of the Albury Wodonga Regional Food Security Network. This network is a collective of individuals and organisations interested in food security who are working towards a sustainable local food system now and for the future. The network implements a range of community food security projects including nutrition education, emergency food relief, food budgeting, permaculture courses, farmers markets, cooking groups and community gardens.

Everyone can be active in promoting food security, we can plant fruit and vegetables in our backyards, buy local produce, donate food to FoodShare, be involved in local community gardens and volunteer at community kitchens, every little bit helps.

To find out more about local community food security projects contact Fiona Hughes on 02 6022 8854 or email fhughes@gatewaycommunityhealth.org.au.

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