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Food access and security

As a council, we play a role in local food systems by providing guidance for the community on how to build a sustainable, just, and vibrant food system that will last.

Our community does a range of work in relation to food. This includes growing food at home, community gardens, free food events, forums and networks, and more.

Food System Strategy

What is a food system?

The food system includes all the steps involved in keeping us fed, from growing, harvesting, processing, packing, distribution, marketing, consumption and disposal of food.

Research shows that establishing local food systems can significantly enhance the health and wellbeing of communities, improve the availability of and access to nutritious food, strengthen the local economy, and revitalise urban and natural environments

Merri-bek Food System Strategy

The Moreland Food System Strategy (PDF) is aimed at helping us to seek opportunities to learn and create a resilient local food system with our community. The Food System Strategy 2020-24 Extension (PDF) includes a summary of the achievements in the first three years and an updated action plan that links to the Merri-bek Health and Wellbeing Plan and the Zero Carbon Action Plan. You can see both of these plans on our Policies and Strategies page.

Food security and food access

Food security is when all people have access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate and safe food. Merri-bek has been shown to have high levels of food insecurity. Food insecurity happens when households run out of food and are not able to buy more.

Addressing the cause of food security issues

One of the actions of our Food Systems Strategy is to work with groups, agencies and residents to address the causes of people lacking food security in Merri-bek.

In 2020 we completed a feasibility study on establishing a community food hub in Merri-bek's northern suburbs. This area has some of the least food secure communities in Merri-bek. 

In 2021/22 we implemented a key recommendation coming out of the study which is to establish a Food Leadership Action Group (FLAG) as part of a Collective Impact approach to implementing a Community Food Hub in Merri-bek.

Council engaged consultants Open Food Network to support the backbone organisation functions of the FLAG and work with them to develop a Collective Impact Shared Measurement Framework (CIMF) to demonstrate the impacts and benefits of community food hub activities.

For more information on the Community Food Hub project you can contact the Food System Officer on 9240 1111 or find out more on the Conversations Merri-bek website.

Food relief and material relief services

For advice and information about managing COVID-19 including access to food relief, essential items and support to isolate, please refer to our Local COVID-19 support page.

These brochures contain information about food and material relief services in Merri-bek and neighbouring suburbs

  • Pantry storage foods (tinned and packet dry goods) are available by contacting:

    • the Salvation Army - for all services in Merri-bek, including the asylum seeker and refugee centre call 8873 5288
    • Our Daily Bread, Greek Orthodox Church - email
    • Muslim Women's Council of Victoria halal food releif boxes - call 0483881899
    • NorthPoint Centre Community Hub - call 9338 1898
    • Community Information and Support Merri-bek - call 9350 3737
    • Reynard Street Neighbourhood House Community Pantry, Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays 12 - 3pm - call 9386 7128
  • Pantry storage and fresh foods (cold storage) are available by contacting:

  • Cooked meals for collection are available by contacting:

    • Brunswick Salvos for food parcels and takeaway hot meals - call 9388 5500
    • Moreland Manna for takeaway, warm meals, coffee, tea, bread and light morning tea - call 0416 378 748
    • Open Table at Fawkner Senior Citizen's Centre, 77 Jukes Road, every second Saturday - call 0403 218 123
    • Free community lunch at Brunswick Neighbourhood House, 43a De Carle Street on the second Thursday of the month 12pm - call 9386 9418
  • Merri-bek's, Meals on Wheels provide cooked meals for delivery. You can call 9240 2302 to access this service.

    Meals on Wheels is available for:

      • People over the age of 65
      • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50
      • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 45 who are on low income, are homeless or at risk of homelessness
      • People on low income and people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness over the age of 50
  • Emergency relief and food vouchers are available through:

    • Community Information and Support Merri-bek - call 9350 3737
    • The Salvation Army for food vouchers, bill payments and pharmacy payments - call 8873 5288
    • St Vincent de Paul - 1800 305 330
    • The Salvation Army Asylum Seeker and Refugee Service - 9384 8333
    • Brunswick Salvos - 9388 5500
  • Fruit and vegetables at a reduced cost are available through: