Give someone accessing emergency food relief an extra $20 and they will buy meat, vegetables and fruit.
That’s according to Ballarat Community Health’s report Food Insecurity in Ballarat released on Friday.
In the wake of the report’s release, YMCA Ballarat has announced their Delacombe Community Garden is set to undergo notable expansion.
The community garden will triple in size, with a grant from City of Ballarat and Conservation Volunteers Australia funding the installation of an additional 12 garden beds.
YMCA Ballarat health promotions officer Georgia Savage said the garden was a prevention approach to the issue of food insecurity.
“There are emergency food relief services in Ballarat who are doing a great job at making sure there is food for people when they have none and when they are at crisis point,” she said.
“The role of the community garden is to prevent people from getting to that crisis point by providing a place in the community where there is food readily available. Community members can pick and eat food from the garden as required, and see food as a regular part of their community landscape.”
All members of the community are welcome to access the garden at any time.
“Food is not going to get any fresher than being picked by the person who is going to eat it. It is a really great part of the system in ensuring there is enough affordable, healthy and fresh food available for all people,” Ms Savage said.
The gardening club meet each week to help maintain the garden plots and harvest vegetables. Ms Savage said the community garden also provided a space for education and social connection.
“We had some younger participants pick their first cucumber last week. It was incredible to see them learning how to pick them, and things like knowing when they are ready.”
YMCA will be supplying lettuce, chives and broccoli from the Delacombe community garden for Ballarat Foundation’s Food for Thought event, an Asian banquet made from rescued food as part of Plate Up Ballarat.