Community insights on food access and culture in the City of Greater Dandenong.-  May 2014

Background

Policy Booth ran community consultation on food access and culture in the City of Greater Dandenong in collaboration with the Food Innovation Alliance. These insights will be used to inform the production of a food strategy for the municipality.

The City of Greater Dandenong local food strategy is being developed to expand opportunity for food producers and retailers whilst also increasing the affordability and access to healthy food for the local community.

When it is complete the strategy will guide future policy, helping to anticipate opportunities and challenges, grow Dandenong’s food network, plan for action, and lead the way for a more secure food future.

Policy Booth held a pop up community consultation in the Dandenong Market – a major food hub located in the commercial centre of Dandenong. Over the course of a day, Policy Booth facilitators spoke with 60 shoppers on their food practices and experience, access to fresh food, healthy eating, and ideas on how the City of Greater Dandenong can become a major food destination.

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Consultation Overview

The community consultation was held from 7am – 3pm on Tuesday April 15 2014. This was the last market day before the Easter holidays. As such, there were more shoppers in the Dandenong Market.

Policy Booth’s team of facilitators moved through the space to talk with visitors and shoppers. Equipped with Ipads and the surveying tool ePublic, Policy Booth consulted with 60 people.

As Dandenong is the second most culturally diverse municipality in Australia, language was a barrier to some people. Policy Booth’s facilitators made sure to approach and engage a wide variety of people and help them understand and move through the 21 questions survey.

Demographics

  •  65% of people consulted were women, 26.7% were male, 1.7% identified as DSG, and 6.6% people chose not to disclose their gender.
  • Participants were mostly aged between 40 and 60 years of age. 30% were over the age of 60. There was a very small proportion of shoppers (8.4%) between the age of 26 and 40.
  • 83% of participants had travelled less than 30km to reach the Dandenong Markets. 18.3% had to travel less than 5km, while 8.3% had travelled over 50km to get there.
  • Participants came from as far as the Mornington Peninsular and South Gippsland, Mount Dandenong and Berwick, as well as St. Kilda and Camberwell.
  • People were visiting the Dandenong Markets mostly because: it is good value for money (55%), they like the variety (43.3%), and because fresh food is important to them (40%).
  • Most participants shop for food two or three times a week (38.7%) or once a fortnight (37.1%).

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Insights

Eating Habits

  • 35% of participants said that the food they eat is ‘really healthy.’ 28.3% of people described their food as ‘a little unhealthy.’
  • 46% of participants said that the food they eat is mostly vegetables.
  • Participants said that their food mostly came from: their local fruit and veg store (71.7%), a Coles or Safeway (63.3%), and an IGA or independent supermarket (63.3%).
  • 28.3% said that most of their food came from the Dandenong Market. 38.3% said that is came from a farmer’s market.
  • 15% of participants said they grow their own food.
  • Most participants said that they rarely eat out in Greater Dandenong. 13.3% said they would eat out only on a special occasion, and 31.7% said they never eat out in the area.
  • 11.7% of participants said they eat fast food a few times a week. 28.3% of participants eat fast food every couple of weeks. 36.7% said they eat fast food hardly ever or never.
  • Those who buy fast food say that they mostly do it because: it’s what they feel like (33.3%) and they don’t have time to cook (25%). Price and family size were not major reasons to buy fast food.
  • 60% of participants said they prepare their lunch at home and bring it to work.
  • 5% of participants said they mostly eat lunch at a local café.

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Access to Food

  • A majority of participants (53.3%) said that it was very easy to find fresh food in Dandenong – scoring it 10/10.
  • 65% of participants said that access and availability of fresh food was very important to them – scoring it 10/10/
  • 38.3% of participants said that it would be easier for them to access fresh food if the Market were open more frequently.
  • Participants did not see price as being a barrier to accessing fresh food.

Food Culture

  • 38.3% of participants strongly agree with the statement ‘Greater Dandenong is a destination for diverse multicultural food experiences.’
  • For Greater Dandenong’s food culture to be more exciting, participants recommended: more food festivals and major events (36.7%), more café seating on footpaths (30%), and a website about what’s on offer (26.7%).
  • Participants also thought that food tours (20%) and community gardens (15%) would make food culture in Greater Dandenong more exciting.
  • 55% of participants said they would like to see more programs for kids that are about healthy food choices.
  • 38.3% of participants said that they would like to attend a multicultural food festival.
  • 45% of participants said that the City of Greater Dandenong should promote food culture and access to healthy food through events and festivals.
  • 30% said that the City of Greater Dandenong should promote food culture and access to healthy food through better food in schools.

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What is the best thing about food in Greater Dandenong?

These answers have been provided by the community.

  • Lots of Halal food available, lots of butchers available too.
  • Lots of halal restaurants, (it’s good for the) Muslim in the community
  • It’s fresh and cheap
  • Different cultures and varieties of food
  • Quite diverse options in food types
  • The variety.
  • It’s fresh and it’s cheap.
  • Accessible, cheap, diverse
  • The diversity
  • Brings people together
  • The variety and quality.
  • Chinese restaurants, the plaza and food court in Dandneong Market
  • Lots of multicultural restaurant especially Afghan Bazaar
  • The wide range of food, and the great atmosphere with all of the friendly people.
  • Diversity, ease of parking, value for money.
  • Atmosphere and quality for price
  • I come to the market for the coffee.
  • Variety and the people you meet when shopping. It’s a fantastic community at the markets!
  • The variety. We recently discovered a great importer of Indian food. There needs to be more gluten free options.
  • Diversity and freshness from the market
  • Because there is a variety of international food
  • The markets. We don’t go anywhere else.
  • Bringing people together when they don’t get to see each other very much
  • The diversity and representation of local cultures
  • The market makes good quality fresh food widely available and accessible to all. The people are friendly and it’s just like a big family. Love the variety – just need a wider selection of cheeses and small goods

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