The Mornington Peninsula Food Access Network has an integrated approach to food security throughout the Mornington Peninsula. The network co-ordinates the activities of Mornington Peninsula Shire, food relief agencies such as SecondBite, food producers and retailers to provide healthy, local and affordable food.
Improving health outcomes
The program addresses food security by engaging with three target groups:
Community members experiencing food poverty or food insecurity through local SecondBite Fresh Food Programs
- Local food producers through the Food Industry Advisory Body and Mornington Peninsula Produce trustmark
- Local food retailers through the Best Bites Food Guide program The Fresh Food Programs are in identified areas of disadvantage such as Hastings and Rosebud West to create supportive environments that address food security and raise health equality for these residents.
In 2013, the Shire held a Fresh Food Round Table with SecondBite, food relief agencies, retailers and producers to commence several initiatives that led to the first Fresh Food Program in Rosebud. To enable stakeholder engagement, a Food Access Network database is maintained for members to access information on food supply, and to avoid duplication.
The Network also includes relevant Shire teams – Social and Community Planning, Environmental Health, Economic Development and Waste Management. Stakeholders also meet regularly at local forums and quarterly for the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Committee meetings. This committee has food security as a specific strategy in the Public Health and Wellbeing Plan.
Mornington Peninsula Food Access Networks co-ordinates the following community programs:
SecondBite commenced weekly fresh food deliveries in 2013 and is committed to identifying sources of nutritious surplus fresh food and produce that might otherwise go to waste and facilitating its safe and timely distribution to agencies and people in need.
The Fresh Food Program caters for over 300 people each week who would otherwise go without a daily healthy meal. SecondBite also provides a free weekly service to collect excess produce from Mornington Peninsula food retailers and producers. All of the Shire’s 31 supermarkets and several food producers are using this service.
Best Bites Food Guide
The Best Bites Food Guide is a Shire award program with over 400 food businesses participating by providing safe, healthy and sustainable foods. Best Bites is the first food award program in Australia to assess and promote food businesses in the areas of food safety, nutrition, tobacco, recycling, energy/water efficiency and access for all. It aims to increase healthy eating and sustainable food options provided by local food businesses. Businesses who provide excess produce to SecondBite receive Best Bites accreditation.
Mornington Peninsula Produce
Locally-grown fresh produce is marketed to the public using the Mornington Peninsula Produce food provenance brand which was launched in April 2016. The certified trademark, developed by Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Food Industry Advisory Body, helps consumers confirm the provenance of fresh produce when purchasing from the farm gate, farmers’ markets and retail outlets. Twenty-five local food producers are members of the MPP program and have also been given Best Bites certification to close the loop between local food producers, retailers and consumers.
- MPSC Health and Wellbeing Committee
- Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre
- Mornington Community Support and Information Centre
- Salvation Army Western Port Mission
- Food Industry Advisory Board
- Peninsula Health
- Western Port Biosphere Reserve
Activities are funded within existing program budgets and the Shire provides an annual budget of around $20,000 for building hire and program evaluation.