Three dietetics students will begin a new project in Ballarat this week to determine whether local cafes and restaurants are interested in being a part of a healthy children's menu program.
City of Ballarat health and well-being planner Caroline Amirtharajah said the program would use branding and promotion to ensure parents or carers could be confident of being able to order a nutritious meal and drinks for children.
Monash University Master of Dietetics students Christine Nikolopoulos, Vanessa Morando and Jimmy Lee will complete the scoping project during their work placement in Ballarat.
The focus on healthy food for children is part of City of Ballarat's food strategy Good Food For All 2019- 2020, that was endorsed by council in October last year.
The key priorities of Good Food for All 2019-2022 are to support increased access to healthy foods, support a sustainable local food system and celebrate a vibrant inclusive food culture.Caroline Amirtharajah, City of Ballarat
Ms Amirtharajah will be speaking about the strategy and projects that support it at grassroots community organisation Food Is Free's new series of Twilight Talks.
"The key priorities of Good Food for All 2019-2022 are to support increased access to healthy foods, support a sustainable local food system and celebrate a vibrant inclusive food culture," she said.
Food Is Free Inc. founder Lou Ridsdale said this was in line with the community organisation's focus on food security and food education.
She said the series of Thursday night Twilight Talks held at the Food Is Free Green Space would provide an opportunity to learn about what people in Ballarat were doing to build community health and well-being.
"At Food Is Free we often say "we're all in this together" and this is another example of how we do it - bringing together a community to inspire each other," she said.
Ms Amirtharajah will also talk on Thursday about other food strategy projects that are underway, including promotion of the OzHarvest food rescue app to link locals cafes and restaurants to charities to reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill.
The City of Ballarat has also registered with the Compost Revolution, an online platform which sells compost bins, worm farms and bokashi bins at reduced prices.
Ms Amirtharajah said future projects include a workshop and tour to support teachers and parent involved in school edible gardens and further encouragement of platforms such as ShareWaste to reduce food waste ending up in landfill.
Food Is Free will feature other guest speakers throughout the Twilight Talks series, including Food Is Free volunteers manager Virginia Wilson discussing how to become a volunteer, members of the Ballarat Community Gardens, Ballarat Repair Cafe and Ballarat Permaculture Guild, plus Ballan sustainability expert Liz O'Dwyer.
In March, Food Is Free will also co-host two film fundraiser evenings at The George Hotel, in partnership with Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group.
Food Fighter, an education film about food waste, will be screened on 4 March and 2040 will be screened on March 11 at 7.30pm, highlighting sustainable practices.
"The film nights are a great opportunity for us to raise funds for our upcoming public liability insurance fees," Ms Ridsdale said.
"It's our most expensive outlay for the year, and when you are grassroots like us, community input is so appreciated to get us over the financial line."
Tickets to the two film fundraisers can be purchased via FanForce while no bookings are necessary for the Twilight Talks that will run every Thursday at the Green Space from 5.30pm, gold coin donations are encouraged.
Tickets are also available for the Food Is Free workshop series that has attracted more than 600 people to dozens of workshops since October.
Food Is Free began five years ago as a place for people to share excess food and gardening knowledge.