South West Food Community

Design Feature
Project Type
Healthy Food
Western Australia

South West Food Community focuses on investigating and mapping all of the initiatives and partnering organisations contributing to ensuring healthy food availability, access and utilisation (food security) for South West Western Australians. The project was catalysed by previous Western Australian food security research that highlighted food security issues were prevalent in the region and state [1, 2].

Increasing food security

This place-based project is using a new methodology, a ‘Systemic Innovation Lab’ approach [3], to identify and map the initiatives supporting healthy food availability, access and use in the South West region. These initiatives may include projects such as community gardens, food swaps, food events and festivals, farmers’ markets, food literacy projects and educational farm tours. In addition to understanding each initiative’s characteristics in detail, the project also aims to understand how these initiatives function as a food security system.

After the mapping is undertaken, government and community stakeholders are brought together at a stakeholder forum, to review and reflect on the results and collectively design potential solutions to increase food security in the region. This may be achieved through optimising existing initiatives in the system or creating new initiatives. The map of initiatives can then be embedded on a purpose-built web platform and app

Once the successful pilot model has been implemented in November 2018, considerations will be made in collaboration with government and community stakeholders, to extend the contextualised concept to other regions of Western Australia and beyond.

The core project team includes members with a diverse skill set in policy, practice and research from Edith Cowan University and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (PHAIWA). Two Research Assistants with extensive South West networks were also employed under the core team.

A multisector reference group was recruited through existing professional networks and traditional media, to provide an advisory role across components such as branding, awareness raising amongst networks, website components and ongoing sustainability. The reference group comprises stakeholders working in public health nutrition, environmental health, community development, education, Aboriginal health and primary health.

A number of key networks and organisations have also been instrumental in promoting the community project launch and participating in the mapping process. Such organisations include local community-based groups and government organisations with wide-reaching

social media profiles. Local media have also been very supportive and have supported project promotion through a series of print and radio media coverage.

Project Team

  • Edith Cowan University
  • Reference group

Project Cost

$10,000 start up funding, and substantial in-kind contributions.

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