Tasmanian town bites into food security survey

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 24th March 2011

The Dorset Municipality in Tasmania is the northern focus of an innovative food research project aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the community.

Tasmanian Minister for Health, Michelle O’Byrne, yesterday launched Dorset’s efforts in the Tasmanian Food Security Project at the Bridport Primary School garden.

The project will assess how easy it is for people in the municipality to get to food stores and the cost, quality and availability of fresh food.

“We know in rural towns a range of factors including limited transport, lower incomes and higher levels of illness and disability affect accessibility to affordable, nutritious food,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“However, we need to know more about these issues to be able to confront the food supply and accessibility challenges of the future.

“That is what this innovative food security research project is all about.”

Ms O’Byrne said the aim was to identify and improve understanding of food access in two Tasmanian municipal areas.

“The project will identify where in Dorset it is difficult to get fresh fruit and vegetables, so that steps can be taken to improve availability,” she said.

As part of the research, the towns of Bridport, Scottsdale, Ringarooma, Winnaleah and Gladstone will be surveyed and five forums are planned across the municipality.

Dorset is one of two communities in Tasmania involved in the project. The town of Clarence will also participate.

The work is being funded with $180,000 from the State Government through the Tasmanian Food Security Fund.

The partners in the research coalition are Anglicare, the Dorset and Clarence Councils, the University of Tasmania School of Human Life Sciences and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The project builds on the great work already happening in Dorset – an example being the Bridport School garden,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“These places are great starting points for addressing food access and availability and involving children from a young age.”