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Hawkesbury Food Program  
Community Details
Contact Name:  Lynne Saville - Project Officer
Address:  Hawkesbury District Health Service
 Corner Day and Macquarie Sts
 Windsor NSW 2756

 Locked Bag 10
 Windsor NSW 2756

Phone:  +61-2-4545605725
Fax:  +61-2-45605713
For enquiries, email:  lsaville@chcs.com.au
Website Address:  
Community Type:  Health
Hawkesbury Food Program is located in Windsor

Hawkesbury Food Program




Description: Hawkesbury District Health Service, Community Nutrition


 The Hawkesbury Food Program (HFP) aims to develop a multi-strategy approach to food and nutrition issues in the Hawkesbury Local Government area. It aims to improve the health and well being of the community, by strengthening links between the community and local food production, improving access to, and consumption of safe, nutritious, affordable food. Program objectives include policy development, community participation, education and training, collaboration, and planning. Food supply issues and opportunities for intervention are incorporated in the HFP strategies.

 A re-orientation of food supply systems is inter-linked with the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, Local Agenda 21, and the Hawkesbury City Council Healthy Cities initiative 'growing shared solutions to a Healthy Hawkesbury Community'.

 Since European settlement the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment has contributed as one of the most productive agricultural areas of Australia. Once known as the 'grain bowl' of Sydney, the catchment covers an area 2.5% of NSW, producing 15% of the state's agricultural produce including most of Sydney's poultry, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, nearly a third of the state's oysters and some dairy produce. There is increasing recognition for the need to retain diverse agricultural activity within the Sydney basin.

 The Hawkesbury has a young population with 41% of the population being under the age of 25. A high percentage of disposable income goes to  mortgage / rent repayments, which, in addition to high travel costs leaves many residents with a low disposable income, for example, 20.9% of households had incomes over $62,000, however, 15.4% of household incomes were under $16,000 and 35% of incomes were below $12,000 annually. Local demographics indicate increasing pressure for housing development due to the large numbers of young families living in the Hawkesbury.

 Studies indicate that diet related diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and some cancers are on the increase in the Hawkesbury, creating an opportune environment for long-term nutritional intervention.

 Hawkesbury Food Program Partners and Steering Committee members include:

  • Hawkesbury District Health Service
  • Wentworth Area Health Service
  • Hawkesbury City Council
  • University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury (UWS,H)
  • NSW Agriculture
  • Hawkesbury Skills
  • Earthcare, Food for All and, local community agencies

 The present Steering Committee Chair is Professor Stuart Hill, School of Social Ecology and LIfelong Learning, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury.

Intervention strands based on Community Nutrition strategies include:

Increase access to locally produced foods for local people by:

  • The Hawkesbury Cuisine group formed to link local restaurateurs and growers
  • Collation of a data base of growers, food outlets and local businesses interested in participation in Farmer Market, home delivery or Farmgate Trail
  • The local Farmers Market
Farmers Market Stall - Windsor Sunday Markets. Local pecan grower Mr Weller.

Farmers Market Stall - Windsor Sunday Markets. Local pecan grower Mr Weller.

  • Promotion of local grower's farm fresh home delivery service distributing over 50 boxes per week
  • Presentations to local community groups to provide information on nutrition and food hygiene, access to affordable local food supply
  • Hawkesbury Harvest Farmgate Trail map development, and which has now extensively distributed and linked with tourism
  • Hawkesbury Skills development of a Hawkesbury agricultural database grower / retailers directory
  • Hawkesbury Earthcare group organic community gardens, and education initiatives to support the re-localisation of the food supply
  • Links between farmers and consumers have been strengthened through the above strategies

Food security for low income families through:

  • For for All Project: targets food security and distribution, with construction underway of a food co-operative targeting those on low incomes
  • Home Delivery Service - student research project and brochure publication distributed through GPs and community agencies targeting those experiencing difficulty gaining access to shops
  • Hawkesbury Skills horticulture and community and community gardens skilling / training / employment training programs participate in collection and distribution of excess fruit and vegetables
  • Richmond Community Services Inc. Cooking classes on low cost nutrition food

Promoting safe nutritious affordable food & sustainable agriculture throughout the community

Utilising a 'settings approach' to food and nutrition and, communication strategies:

  • School Canteen Network - meets once per term with representation from 75% of local schools to promote healthier food choices within schools
  • UWS,H student projects including the Heart Foundation 'Tips ob Chips' study of UWS,H food outlets, and community surveys
  • Development of food and nutrition policy at Hawkesbury District Health Service
  • Hawkesbury Health Promotion is embarking on a large 'Health Promoting Child Care Centres' strategy in conjunction with UWS,H with a specific focis on food and nutrition

Communication Strategy

  • Fresh local produce and health promotion activities at community events
  • Collaboration with council on food hygiene and safety seminars
  • The production of the 'Seasonal guide to Hawkesbury fruit and vegetables' calendar
  • Participation in Sydney's Fresh Fruit Bowl Network to establish links between 'Healthy Catchments, Healthy Food, Healthy People' highlighting the importance of agriculture in the region
  • Project for Reconciliation with indigenous food and fibre planted in community gardens
  • Media strategy through radio, local, state and national newspapers
  • All strategies of the HFP are monitored and evaluated through monthly and annual reports, by the Steering Committee and partners

Grants, Awards

  • The Commonwealth Child and Nutrition grant
  • Food for All Project was funded to employ Project Officer for two years
  • Hawkesbury Council was awarded the Heart Foundation State and National Local Government Community Nutrition Awards in 2000 for the HFP
  • Wilberforce Public School Breakfast Program Hawkesbury Healthy Cities Award

 The Hawkesbury Food Program uses a community development approach for all the strategies, which tend to be community driven, hence there have been many participants involved in each initiative. The HFP has examined community nutrition in the broadest context from agriculture, cleaner production, research, access, affordability, employment, equity and distribution, beyond the scope of many community nutrition projects. The many strategies to consolidate this vision have come to fruition through smaller projects, many of which have gathered considerable strength such as the school canteen network, and Hawkesbury Harvest.

Hawkesbury Harvest. Local growers & producers attend Hawkesbury Harvest Farmgate Trail meeting in workshop / barn of local craftsman, John Kereszy.

 The recently awarded Child and Nutrition Program grant will provide three years funding for the employment of the Program Officer to work with families and child care settings. Hawkesbury Food Program strategies are implemented within existing frameworks where possible and incorporated at all levels of planning. To this end, links with partners and funding bodies are maintained through monthly reporting and / or executive presentations as required.

 For more information contact Lynne Saville, Project Officer: Hawkesbury Food Program


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