Food access and food security

What is food security?

Food security refers to the ability of all people to regularly access healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate and safe food without the use of emergency food relief.

Moreland has been shown to have high levels of food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as households that run out of food and are then unable to buy more.

In the 2008 Victorian Population Health Survey conducted by the Department of Health, Merri-bek was the only metropolitan municipality in the top 10 for food insecurity (coming in at number 5 for Victoria), with 10.1 per cent of respondents surveyed stating that they had run out of food in the last 12 months and could not afford to buy more.

In the 2011 Merri-bek Household Survey, 4.8 per cent of total Merri-bek respondents answered 'yes' to the question: ‘Have there been any times in the last 12 months when you ran out of food and could not afford to buy more?' By 2013, this had dropped to 3.3 per cent. However, results showed significant differences between suburbs across Merri-bek, with Fawkner nearly doubling the proportion to 11.4 per cent and a significant increase in Brunswick West with 6.4 per cent.

food insecurity Merri-bek household survey graph

Food insecurity - Merri-bek Household Survey results: Brunswick 1.2%, Brunswick East 1.7%, Brunswick West 6.4%, Coburg 2.1%, Coburg North 3.6%, Fawkner 11.4%, Glenroy 4.5%, Gowanbrae 5.5%, Hadfield 1.9%, Oak Park 2.0%, Pascoe Vale 1.2%, Pascoe Vale South 1.0%.

Report on food security

The Food Security in Merri-bek study was conducted during 2007 and 2008 by Merri Community Health Services to investigate food insecurity in Merri-bek. The objectives of the study were:

  1. To develop an understanding of the local food supply and other internal and external factors that influence food security within the City of Merri-bek.
  2. To identify particular population groups and geographic areas within Merri-bek in which there is the greatest need.
  3. To identify potential activities and partnerships to relieve poor food access for Merri-bek residents.

For more information about the study, you can read:

Food access

Access to fresh food has been found to be a strong predictor of people’s likelihood to adopt healthy eating practices.

Easy access to fresh food differs significantly across Merri-bek. In the 2011 Merri-bek Household Survey, respondents were asked whether they were able to access fresh food within easy walking distance of their home - 77.1 per cent of total Merri-bek residents answered 'yes to this question. In 2013, this increased to 78.7 per cent.

Some areas of Merri-bek clearly have barriers to food access. In Gowanbrae and Coburg North only around 50 per cent of respondents are within easy walking distance to fresh food.

food access Merri-bek household survey graph

Food access - Merri-bek Household survey results: Brunswick 94.1%, Brunswick East 89.9%, Brunswick West 76.1%, Coburg 81.6%, Coburg North 50.6%, Fawkner 78.9%, Glenroy 80.3%, Gowanbrae 52.7%, Hadfield 87.5%, Oak Park 58.0%, Pascoe Vale 75.0%, Pascoe Vale South 54.5%.

Moreland food access maps

Moreland food access maps were developed in 2008 to show the availability of different types of food and alcohol in different parts of Merri-bek.

Low resolution 72 dpi

High resolution 600 dpi