Flourish Framework launched to create vibrant, sustainable regional food system



Healthy Loddon Campaspe, a State Government-funded initiative aimed at improving health outcomes in the region, has led the development of the Flourish regional food system framework across six local government areas.

To kickstart Flourish, Healthy Loddon Campaspe is inviting residents from Greater Bendigo, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, and Mount Alexander Shires to join the governance taskforce.

The creation of the Flourish governance taskforce is an important step in framework implementation and progressing actions related to each of the key objectives.

Comprehensive background research and analysis conducted during Flourish’s development revealed important insights about the local food system, including:

  • Over 90% of land in the region is dedicated to agricultural production which contributes over $1.6billion to our regional economy.
  • Unfortunately, a large amount of the food produced locally leaves our region.
  • There are over 15 farmers and grower’s markets operating across the region that aim to connect our communities with locally grown food.
  • In our region there are 32 Stephanie Alexander School Kitchen Gardens, alongside many other school and early learning kitchen gardens.
  • Only 19% of females and 7% of males meet the recommended vegetable consumption guidelines.
  • People who eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables were more likely to report better general health, weight and life satisfaction.

A Vision of a vibrant and sustainable regional food system that puts community and Country at its heart to promote health, equity, and resilience for all was created through the development process.

From this, three Values and five Objectives to help direct the work of locals involved in all parts of the food system were identified. The five main objectives of Flourish are to:

  1. Build food movements across the region to generate change.
  2. Expand ecological farming principles and practices to improve the health of landscapes.
  3. Improve farmland access and protection to diversify our food system from the ground up.
  4. Re-design community food environments to prioritise healthy, seasonal, and culturally appropriate foods from values-led regional food chains.
  5. Grow food system knowledge to reconnect people with healthy food.

VicHealth CEO, Dr Sandro Demaio said everyone deserves access to healthy, sustainable and culturally appropriate food and this exciting initiative will help build a diverse food system that benefits locals throughout the Loddon Campaspe region.

“It's inspiring to see such comprehensive research and inspiring community engagement driving positive change. I can’t wait to see this vibrant and important initiative come to life.” Dr Demaio said.

Loddon Shire Council CEO and Healthy Loddon Campaspe Regional Steering Group Chairperson, Lincoln Fitzgerald said the development of Flourish was a comprehensive process led by a food systems expert and included significant background analysis of local policies and plans, a regional food system assessment, co-design workshops with local stakeholders, and most recently an Equity Impact Assessment focused on governance.

“We’re excited to now move to the next stage, which will build on the amazing work already underway in the region, and guide future approaches tailored for our local communities to create a vibrant and sustainable regional food system,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Flourish has been designed to act as an advocacy tool, and to influence Healthy Loddon Campaspe’s future place-based action, as well as that of the people and groups involved in our regional food system.”

“Healthy Loddon Campaspe recognises that transforming our food system is no small task. Food is everyone’s business and requires broad, collaborative and innovative engagement from the diverse range of organisations, community groups, networks and individuals both within and outside the health sector.”

To read the full Flourish report, and the associated Background Document, visit www.healthyloddoncampaspe.au/flourish.

Community members interested in being involved in the Flourish governance taskforce should visit www.healthyloddoncampaspe.au/flourish by July 12, 2024.

Flourish with HLC team
Flourish with HLC team
Flourish front page
Flourish front page

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