Promoting health by design

The Heart Foundation is making healthy eating easier and more accessible for Perth communities through a new initiative starting in Fremantle.

The Healthy Built Food Environments program aims to ensure access and availability to healthy food in communities and to use existing spaces for local food production.

Program senior coordinator Nick Nation said the initiative hoped to change the way communities access healthy food.

“We are trying to improve the accessibility and availability to healthy food through built environment characteristics, like land use planning, community gardens, zoning, retail spaces, verge gardens and farmers’ markets,” he said.

The initiative has a “food tool” local councils can use as a guideline in planning and design projects to encourage healthy eating.

“It’s like a checklist that’s been created with a lot of evidence behind it for people on the ground to actually utilise,” Mr Nation said.

The Heart Foundation is partnering with the City of Fremantle for a launch event and workshop in November.

The aim of the event is to promote the initiative, demonstrate the food tool and get other councils involved.

City of Fremantle senior sustainability officer Annabelle Stewart said the initiative was very much in line with the council’s One Planet strategy, and focus on local and sustainable food.

The local and sustainable food principle is all about promoting sustainable food, humane farming and healthy lives,” she said.

“We have a verge policy that means you’re allowed to grow fruit trees on your verge and we also have a community gardens policy where we support a number of community gardens.”

The initiative is an extension of the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design tool which supports healthy living and physical activity in built environments to improve the quality of Australia’s health.

Mr Nation said: “We live in an obesogenic environment so wherever you look it’s conducive to weight gain and 63 per cent of Australia’s population are overweight or obese.

“We’re not claiming to fix the problem but this, along with many other initiatives that target healthy weight, will make some kind of impact on Australia’s growing waistline.”

The City of Fremantle will host the launch event at the Fremantle Police and Community Youth Centre and conduct a tour of the Hilton Harvest Community Garden on November 1.

Categories: Health