Release date: Thu, 19th, Apr. 2018
Food Insecurity in Ballarat Report Release
Friday 20th April, 9.15am
Ballarat Community Health (BCH) release “Food Insecurity in Ballarat”, a report which will provide an understanding of the experiences and effects of food insecurity on people seeking emergency food relief from Ballarat services.
It is estimated that more than 12% of Ballarat’s population experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is a deeply entrenched and complex problem within the Ballarat community with multiple contributing factors including: financial instability; lack of resources; poor access to nutritious and affordable food and lack of knowledge.
The Food Access Network (FAN) is a collective of Ballarat agencies formed in 2016 to address food insecurity in the region. Ballarat Foundation funded BCH to host a forum on food insecurity in 2017. This forum highlighted the need to understand the impacts of food insecurity on those directly affected and the report is the result of that initiative.
Research was undertaken by Monash University Department of Nutrition and Dietetics students of 100 participants from three agencies: Uniting Ballarat, Salvation Army and Anglicare to better understand the experiences and effects of food insecurity on people seeking emergency food relief from these services and their dependents, including: the factors that contribute to food insecurity, the effects of food insecurity on health, wellbeing and quality of life, what it is like to seek assistance from Ballarat services, what would help people address the effects of food insecurity, including access to nutritious food and what would help people become more food secure.
Results indicate that 78% of the respondents are experiencing varying degrees of food insecurity with hunger. Thirty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they have endured a whole day or more in the previous week without eating. Moreover, 61% of respondents indicated that food insecurity has mental and physical health repercussions. Ninety-seven percent of respondents were solely reliant on government income and 80% ran out of food in the last 12 months and could not afford to buy more. The study has identified income, education and physical environment as key determinants that contribute to food insecurity in Ballarat.
FAN partners include: Ballarat Community Health, City of Ballarat, United Way/Ballarat Foundation, Central Highland Primary Care Partnership, Salvation Army, Uniting Care, Anglicare, Soup Bus, YMCA, Hepburn Health, Laneway Food is Free, Golden Plains Shire, Link Up – Ballarat SC, Wellbeing Wendouree, Permaculture Guild, Rowan View Preschool, Harvest Ministry of Food.
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