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Evaluating the impact of community food security initiatives

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Blue Room, Multicultural Hub

506 Elizabeth Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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Australia’s Right to Food Coalition is bringing together evaluation and research experts from throughout Australia to facilitate this masterclass for anyone involved in community-based food security initiatives. Join us for an afternoon of inspiring and informative presentations followed by a hands-on workshop to demonstrate how we can measure the impact of our communtiy-based food security work.

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PROGRAM:

1pm Introductions and Welcome Liza Barbour (Monash University) & Rebecca Lindberg (Deakin University)

1:15pm Food Security: What do consumers think? Danielle Gallegos (QUT) & Rebekah Russell-Bennett (QUT)

1:30pm Hand up not hand out: Evaluation of the nutrition education program FoodMate by SecondBite Kylie Ball (Deakin University)

1:45pm Evaluation of ASRC's Food Justice Truck Fiona McKay (Deakin University) & Russell Shields (Community Grocer)

2pm Hands-on Workshop: Designing and implementing effective research to measure the impact of your community food security initiative - identifying suitable measurement tools/instruments without starting from scratch, approaching key partners to help share the load, engaging volunteers/students effectively, sourcing funding to conduct evaluation work, framing and disseminating evaluation results to attract future funding... and much much more!

3.15pm Update on Australia's Right to Food Coaltion Liza Barbour (Monash University), Sophie Jamieson (William Angliss Institute) & Rebecca Lindberg (Deakin University)

3.30pm Event close

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This event is FREE (yippee!!) however please note that there will be no tea, coffee or food provided so plan accordingly. We will be heading to a nearby bar/cafe afterwards for networking drinks - all welcome!


This event is being supported by the City of Melbourne.

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PRESENTATION ABSTRACTS

Food Security: What do Consumers Think?

Danielle Gallegos (School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology), Rebekah Russell-Bennett (School of Business, Queensland University of Technology), Ryan McAndrew (School of Business, Queensland University of Technology), Geoff Smith (SecondBite)

Hunger in Australia is increasing as more people find it difficult to make ends meet. The human rights approach to food insecurity begins with acknowledging the need. However, in Australia we have failed to do this as we rely on flawed data from national surveys that indicate less than 5% of the population are food insecure. Food insecurity is not on the political agenda and to get it there a combination of public and political will is required. This presentation will focus on results of a recent survey deployed through Facebook of 1010 participants, one-third of whom identified as being food insecure. It will explore the relationship between food insecurity and demographic factors as well as nutrition knowledge.

This research found that the Australian public have a good understanding of food security from its application at the individual, household level right through to the broader national food supply perspectives. Using social marketing segmentation techniques we were able to segment the population linking to their citizenship type. This will enable us to be able to develop messages that specifically target those types within the public and the political spheres to enhance the visibility of food security and get it on the agenda.

Hand up not Hand out: Evaluation of the nutrition education program FoodMate by SecondBite

Kylie Ball (Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University), Lena Stephens (IPAN, Deakin University) and Geoff Smith (SecondBite)

This collaborative research evaluated the impact of SecondBite’s FoodMate program on participants’ diet; physical activity; cooking confidence, cooking and food preparation behaviours and food independence; new opportunities to eat healthily; mental and social well-being; attitudes and behaviours of significant others; and perceptions of food accessibility and affordability, up to two years after program participation. A process evaluation was also undertaken to assess how well the FoodMate program was received by participants, perceptions about program materials, and suggestions for how the program could be improved. In 2016 and 2017, FoodMate delivery organisations were engaged to contact former participants. IPAN undertook data collection with participants who responded to both quantitative survey items and qualitative interview questions. Nineteen of 26 former participants contacted agreed to participate. Where available, data w matched to earlier data collected by delivery organisations before and immediately after program participation. A case study of a delivery organisation's experiences with the FoodMate program was also undertaken, drawing on organisation program feedback collected by agencies and collated by SecondBite. Findings showed that participants’ diet generally improved immediately following FoodMate, with most improvements at least maintained up to two years later. Confidence to cook using basic ingredients, follow a simple recipe, and try new foods; and cooking and food-related skills also improved. Social wellbeing and life satisfaction were relatively high up to two years after the program. The majority of participants cooked for or shared recipes with family and friends since FoodMate. Up to two years later, participants reported that fruit and vegetables were readily accessible at home and in the local neighbourhood. For most, the cost of healthy foods did not restrict them from eating healthfully. FoodMate was very well received. Aspects enjoyed included building cooking skills and confidence, and socialising. Some suggested improvements included providing more recipes, and selecting program location carefully. FoodMate delivery team members’ level of confidence to provide clients with a variety of health and food-related skills and information increased after receiving FoodMate program delivery training. While delivery team members identified some barriers, such as high drop-out rates, that they believed impacted on FoodMate’s success, overall they reported observing positive changes among participants. In summary, the results of this evaluation demonstrate that not only was the FoodMate program very well-received by participants and organisations, it was associated with long-term positive impacts on participants’ food-related attitudes and behaviours.


Evaluation of ASRC’s Food Justice Truck

Fiona McKay (Deakin University) and Russell Shields (Community Grocer)

The Food Justice Truck is a mobile food market that sells a selection of fruit, vegetables, rice and legumes, at a 60-75% discount for people seeking asylum in an attempt to mitigate food insecurity. In order to cover the cost of this discount, the truck trades as a social enterprise, selling produce to the general public at the full retail price. There is currently no research exploring strategies to address food insecurity for asylum seekers outside an emergency-relief setting. This research provides a valuable contribution to the field of food security research, as well as providing insights into the needs of asylum seekers in the Australian community.

Research was conducted with both people seeking asylum and the general public who use the truck. This research included surveys with 50 members of the general public, and interviews or surveys with 27 people seeking asylum, and was conducted between April and June, 2017. All participants held one of several temporary visas, with some having access to formal employment. Most participants had been using the Truck since it opened (two year at the time of the interviews). Many of the participants were utilising the services of the association related to the Truck, including community meals, foodbank, and legal and material aid. Participants liked the quality of foods at the Truck, however, all participants were very sensitive to price, and shopped elsewhere for lower cost goods. Despite this access to low cost foods, most households remained food insecure, some with hunger.

Providing opportunities for vulnerable populations to access fresh foods at discounted process is one way to provide opportunities for a healthy diet. However, like many other interventions that seek to address one aspect of food insecurity, many of those engaged with the Truck remain food insecure.

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Photo credit: Elaine Casap (unsplash.com)


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Blue Room, Multicultural Hub

506 Elizabeth Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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