So, why a Food Charter? Three reasons: we’ve listened to feedback, we want our campus environments to be healthy and happy, and our academic expertise tells us this matters.
Listening to feedback
Around five years ago, the Food at Deakin strategy was implemented following feedback from students and staff. The first action involved a move away from single big chain operators to more modern spaces. We were able to transform our food environments from uninviting places that didn’t foster a social connection to places to be proud of.
The Food Charter is the continuation of our work in this complex area; a way of defining Deakin’s food offer so that anyone who visits our campuses knows exactly what to expect and count on. It also responds to more recent survey feedback about the food available today.
It’s not easy to meet everyone’s needs all the time, which is why the Charter covers a range of different aspects all related to food.
The Charter forms part of our work on the Achievement Program, a State Government initiative to integrate health and wellbeing into workplaces. To date we have achieved four of the five pillars of this program – health promoting environments for smoking, alcohol, exercise and mental health. Healthy food is the last pillar for us to achieve before we’re recognised as a healthy environment.
Plus, it goes without saying that we want to provide the healthiest environments we can to support our staff and students.
Learning from our very own experts
With discipline expertise in food and nutrition, there was an obvious appetite to align with a healthier offer. But we still have to meet commercial expectations, feedback from students and staff and varied tastes. The Charter is how we balance these interests – and importantly, how we educate and inform people about food.
At Deakin, there’s lots of research going on in the health and nutrition space. The Food Charter draws on this expertise and was developed in close collaboration with the Faculty of Health; the Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE) and Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN). These research groups are national leaders in obesity prevention and nutrition research in Australia.
Check out their important work here:http://www.globalobesity.com.au/food-environments-and-policy/