Let's find better solutions to food insecurity
The State Government has increased support to food relief organisations and is boosting financial counselling in areas of need, in an effort to help more South Australians through the cost-of-living crisis.
It is also taking steps to develop a lasting and systemic response to food insecurity in South Australia, with the Department of Human Services working alongside Wellbeing SA on a Secure Food Systems Project.
An innovative project
One of the many community organisations helping South Australians in need is The Food Centre at Gepps Cross, which uses a social supermarket model to provide pathways out of food insecurity.
This non-profit social supermarket provides low-cost groceries and provisions to people in need – and is considered a leader in the food security space.
The Food Centre is open to all, regardless of income, and connects people to other supports like financial counselling and no-interest loans that increase household financial sustainability.
The Food Centre has received $266,000 (ex-GST) funding over two years through the Department of Human Services (DHS) to help it continue to develop its social supermarket model and provide low-cost food options including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and meal packs, in the northern Adelaide community. It will also receive $891,000 (ex-GST) over nine years for its community hub which provides customers and the broader community with a space to socialise and access programs and services.
More support for food relief and financial counselling
In addition to this funding for The Food Centre, the 2023–24 State Budget included $4 million over four years for food relief organisations, to help them assist South Australians in greatest need. The measure is designed to help charities keep up with demand and strengthen their food supply chain, while improving nutritional outcomes.
A further $1 million over two years is committed for financial counselling in areas of need. The financial counselling is being provided as outreach in particularly disadvantaged communities. It builds on the way financial wellbeing services were provided in River Murray flood relief centres and will offer a range of services from financial counselling, debt renegotiation, access to no-interest loans and emergency financial assistance (cash for food or bills) locally in financially disadvantaged communities.
Phone for financial counselling and other supports
South Australians seeking financial counselling and other support can phone the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539.
Workshops to brainstorm ideas
The Secure Food Systems Project will explore new ways to secure equitable, culturally appropriate and dignified access to nutritious food, and how such models could be applied in South Australia.
DHS and Wellbeing SA are hosting workshops with the Food Relief Sector during July to support this work. It is anticipated the outcomes will be shared in summer 2023–24.