This was the key message delivered at the inaugural Right to Food Coalition Conference attended by WSCF. This message resonates with newly released ACOSS Poverty in Australia 2014 report on which revealed that one in seven Australians are living below internationally accepted poverty line.
Speakers at the Right to Food Coalition conference made for a call to action on tackling poverty in Australia. Poverty greatly impacts on the ability of individuals, families and communities to acquire appropriate and nutritious food on a regular basis.
Food security is a large scale issue, which has traditionally been addressed by the food relief organisations in the not-for-profit sector. With the overall growth in poverty from 2010 and 2012 by nearly one per cent (from 13% to 13.9), increasing wealth inequality and cut backs in public service provision, household food security in Australia will become increasingly difficult to addressed by not-for-profit sector organisations alone. There are also limited key measures of food security in Australia, so assessing the extent of food insecurity is also a challenge faced by community organisations.
Food security has been recognised as a social determinant of health by the World Health Orgnisation. Speakers at the conference recognised that as with other social determinants of health, ensuring Food Security requires a coordinated response from government and social policy makers at the national, state and local level.
Innovative solutions are being implemented by a number of food relief and main stream not for profit organisations, with a focus on alleviating food insecurity for specific community groups including young homeless people and refugee and asylum seekers families. Food security programs have included community gardens, social enterprises, community kitchens, food literacy campaigns and peer education programs.
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