Foodbank’s Farms to Families market runs every second month in Morwell providing a space to engage and connect attendees with relevant services and resources, beyond emergency relief.
The Latrobe Valley community experiences high rates of food insecurity (6.6%) compared to Victoria (3.6%). Foodbank approached Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) to assist with sourcing relevant local services to set up stalls at the Farms to Families market, enabling attendees to link up with services in an informal environment while also accessing fresh food. Community members are invited to attend the Farms to Families market by emergency relief service providers, headspace and LCHS access workers. In working with Foodbank, LCHS has taken a ‘surviving to thriving’ approach.
The Farms to Families market has been cultivated by strong partnerships with Foodbank and Enjoy Church and enabled by community organisations that were willing to take the time to attend markets. Organisations that were contacted to be involved were enthusiastic about attending and having the opportunity to connect with community members, and Latrobe Community Health Service has built a strong pool of organisations that can attend future Farms to Families markets.
The markets provide community members with a range of fresh, nutritious food as well as access to organisations that can help with issues relating directly to food insecurity, such as financial counsellors and food literacy information. LCHS has also sourced organisations that can provide educational, social and cultural opportunities. Prior to interruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this included organisations such as Local Learning Employment Network, Latrobe Street Games and Latrobe City Libraries.
For LCHS, the markets provide an opportunity to promote programs and services such as home care packages, carers’ program, FOODcents and headspace, and disseminate health information. LiveLighter resources are in high demand and sometimes run out, showing attendees want to improve their food literacy. During the 2019 December market, MasterChef finalist Simon Toohey used fresh produce from the market in his cooking demonstration. Many attendees were seen returning from dropping their food at their car and to watch the demonstration and eat delicious cabbage pancakes!
People who have attend the markets report feeling supported by the all the organisations involved with Farms to Families markets and empowered, to take control of some health issues like eating better and increasing their physical activity. This shows the success of creating an environment in which attendees feel safe and able to have informal discussions with local service providers.
For further information about the Foodbank program please see the Latrobe Community Health Service website.