The Latrobe Health Assembly in partnership with TAFE Gippsland are undertaking a Latrobe Valley wide tree planting exercise with the ambition of having fruit readily available to all kindergarten and primary school children.
As a part of the Latrobe Health Assembly’s focus on food insecurity and childhood nutritional literacy, 280 heritage apple trees are being planted in kindergartens and primary schools across the Latrobe Valley providing sustainable access to fresh apples for generations of students to come.
Food security is a concern in the Latrobe Valley with many residents having limited access to fresh, healthy food. By providing kindergartens and primary schools with fruit trees that will continue to supply each premises with an abundance of nutritious apples, the project not only supports kindergartens’ promotion of healthy food choices to children but also helps kids be a part of the fresh food gathering process.
Together with the Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership, the Latrobe Health Assembly has been actively involved in addressing Food Security issues within the Latrobe Valley which has included the formation of a Food Security Coalition, known as Food For All Latrobe Valley.
Latrobe Health Assembly Executive Officer Ian Needham said: “Improving access to fruit is one way of encouraging children to take up fruit as a fresh and healthy snack option from the garden and will help them make healthier choices as they grow up.”
The project is proudly supported by TAFE Gippsland which has incorporated both planting and ongoing tree maintenance into their Horticulture programs which will ensure future ‘green thumbs’ going through the increasingly popular TAFE course gain real world, offsite arborist experience.
TAFE Gippsland Director Educational Delivery, Linda Austin said “TAFE Gippsland are proud to partner Latrobe Health Assembly in helping deliver this innovative local project, as it provides real-life work experience and hands-on community education for our Latrobe-based Horticulture students.”
This is the first stage of a two-part project being undertaken by the Latrobe Health Assembly looking at grassroots solutions to food insecurity. The second stage, to be launched later this year will aim to make use of unwanted domestically grown fruit by linking up volunteer pickers with residents that have more produce than they need. The produce will then be made available to community members via FoodBanks, local “community pantries” and other food distribution points.
If you would like to register your interest to participate, please visit www.speakup.healthassembly.org.au and click on the ‘Community Fruit Trees’ button. You can also comment on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/latrobehealthassembly or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Fruit Trees project is another example of how the Latrobe Health Assembly is using grassroots community action to connect and support our community.