In one of our highly experimental projects, the SHIFT Healthy Lunch Kitchen, with your generous support, we have just reached a milestone! We have served up over 6,000 lunches to children at three schools, and we feel this is just the beginning!
Why is this figure to be celebrated?
- In May 2022, we have been operating the Kitchen social enterprise for just over 12 months. As you may have known, operating a start-up social enterprise in regional and rural communities in Victoria has meant we were in COVID-19 lockdowns for more days than we actually operated.
- Because it is hard work – this is about building a local healthy food system and market demand, and not parachuting in ultra-processed free food with high food miles like white bread sandwiches.
- This is about placing value on food – where and how it is grown, how it is produced, the people who make a living growing it, and the meals it enables at a community level.
- This respects and values local producers through payment of fair prices for their produce.
- This helps us with our proof of concept – that communities will pay a decent price for a nutritious locally sourced meal at school (at present approximately $7), with supporting systems to ensure no one is left out if affordability is an issue.
Sure it’s harder, and takes longer and is always at risk when free food is helicoptered in from goodness know where or which factory in the city, but it is definitely a local, short food chain solution that should be our future.
Here’s to the next 6,000 lunches at schools, and the next, and the growth of healthy food systems that are sustainable and the circular economy in our public health efforts!