Food Access Networks Mornington

  • healthy food at the launch of The Best Bites food guide
    Healthy food at the launch of The Best Bites Food Guide
  • Councillor Antonella Celi and judge Dr Andrew Monk at the launch of the Best Bites Food Guide
    Councillor Antonella Celi and Judge Dr Andrew Monk at the launch of the Best Bites Food Guide
  • Finalists and Judges at the launch of the Best Bites Food Guide
    Finalists and Judges at the launch of the Best Bites Food Guide

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. 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.

Description of project

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.

Project team
  • MPSC Health and Wellbeing Committee
  • SecondBite
  • 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
Project cost

Activities are funded within existing program budgets and the Shire provides an annual budget of around $20,000 for building hire and program evaluation.

Health value

Given the minimal budget, the reach and impact of the program is extensive as shown by the increased participation rate. Each week, the program provides better health outcomes for over 400 individual clients, links to 45 different community agencies and schools, and delivers over 5 tonnes of excess food. Each year, 430 food businesses participate in the program and receive nutrition information and assessments, and 25 food producers are engaged in food rescue.  

Economic value

Using a ‘free’ resource in rescued food and linking this to existing community programs means that no capital costs and minimal on-going costs are incurred.

Environmental value

As one of Victoria’s prime agricultural regions, the use of excess Mornington Peninsula produce by local agencies and consumers has benefits for both producers and consumers. Food wastage is avoided, business costs are greatly reduced, and consumers most at need can receive free, healthy foods. Over 5 tonne per week reduction in landfill volume is achieved as a result.

Social value

The programs are staffed primarily by volunteers.  The social benefits of this are extensive as volunteers experience an increase in social connection and engagement by participating in the Food Access Network.

Use value

The health equality returns in the short-term are significant and measurable as shown by the increased participation in 2015/16. All partners in the network are committed to this program for the long-term and are confident that the participation rates and improved health outcomes will continue each year.


*Mornington Peninsula Shire Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017

Type of project
Local Government Initiative