SA moves to support indigenous food security

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 8th December 2010

South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Grace Portolesi, today announced a new comprehensive food security strategy for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands Food Security Strategic Plan 2011-2016 will bring together a variety of government and non government programs and will provide a further $820,000 over two years for new initiatives.

“During my first visit to the Lands I was struck by the price and poor quality of the fresh food available and I made a commitment to work with the local people, government and non government agencies to improve this situation,” Portolesi said.

“While we have made significant gains in closing the gap in some areas, the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living on the APY Lands can be vastly improved by increasing the availability and consumption of healthy foods.

“Access to good quality, affordable, nutritious food is fundamental for overall health and wellbeing, and the APY Food Security Strategic Plan will help us deliver better options on the Lands.”

The strategy includes three new initiatives that focus on food production, food preparation skills, nutrition and education, which will build on the programs already run on the Lands.

“The new initiatives will be undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal people, government agencies and the non-government sector and align with the priorities set out through the COAG national partnership with the Commonwealth Government.”

The new initiatives are:

1. Cooking and Eating Together: a community education program focusing on healthy eating and nutrition. It is an intensive community-based nutrition program that will be conducted in various locations across the Lands. It will provide the opportunity for community members to sign up to regular sessions and learn more about healthy eating and food preparation. This initiative will focus on helping support people to create healthy meals for their families

2. The Arid Lands Garden/Horticulture Project: will establish raised garden beds utilising arid-gardens horticultural techniques at Watarru and Sandy Bore. As part of this food production trial, run by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a quandong plantation will be established inside the fenced effluent ponds at Pipalyatjara.

3. The Come and Cook with Your Kids – School Holiday Program: will target school aged children and involve their families. The program will provide nutritional education, food preparation skills and involve the daily preparation of meals that are then consumed. Children will also experience growing a fresh food they can then eat or take home.

The State Government said it will work with the Australian Red Cross, who will be one of the key organisations involved in running two of the new initiatives, and who already support nine breakfast programs throughout APY lands.

“To ensure whole-of-government coordination and action on the strategy, an APY Food Security Executive Action Team (APY-EAT) will be established,” said Portolesi. “This team will also involve the Commonwealth Government and be responsible and accountable for progress in the implementation of the Plan. It will also pursue new initiatives and evaluate the outcomes of these new programs.

“Effective food security and improvements in nutrition on the APY Lands requires effort across policy, governance and service delivery and this strategy tackles food security on all three levels,” said Portolesi.

“The strategy also brings together the current South Australian Government investment in programs that improve food security, nutrition and related health outcomes on the APY Lands.”