Addressing food insecurity in South Australia - Education Matters Magazine
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Addressing food insecurity in South Australia

Food insecurity

A partnership between Monash Business School and fresh food relief charity, The One Box has laid bare the cost-of-living crisis and impacts of food insecurity on Australian children, in a new research report. Food prices are increasing at their fastest rate in 16 years, and the report shows that any level of food insecurity has major impacts on children and families.

The report also proves that consistent, reliable fresh food relief has fundamental benefits beyond financial or nutritional benefits – building community connection and trust, inclusion and dignity, and greater family wellbeing.

In collaboration with The One Box, accounting researchers from Monash Business School commenced a survey in 2022 to better understand the prevalence of food insecurity in school communities across Australia. The results from the first state surveyed – 124 primary schools and community hubs in South Australia– revealed alarming levels of food insecurity in 2022.

Key research highlights include:

  • Findings that 18 percent of households reported severe food insecurity, indicating that household members are reducing their food intake due to a lack of money or resources.
  • An approximate estimate is that 29,549 households or 53,165 students are experiencing varying levels of food insecurity in SA based on these report findings and the 2021 Census.
  • Physical health, school attendance, participation in school activities, social and emotional wellbeing, behavioural and academic outcomes are all impacted by food insecurity.
  • There is little difference in negative impacts whether households experience mild, moderate or severe food insecurity.
food insecurity south australia
The One Box food relief program celebrated its sixth year of operations in 2022, having provided over 2500 Australian families with a weekly box of fresh food.

The One Box food relief program, now in its sixth year, has provided over 2500 Australian households in need with a free weekly box of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and bread, equating to over 100,000 boxes distributed via public primary schools and community hubs.       

Results from the report show that recipients of this program experienced a variety of benefits from increased food security, including:    

  • Built new relationships and trust within their school and broader community.
  • Connected with extended support services.
  • Were able to transition out of the program in some cases.
  • Reported feelings of dignity when receiving fresh, rather than rescued food.
  • Noted the weekly delivery provided certainty and reduced stress and anxiety.
  • Children no longer felt a sense of embarrassment or exclusion from their peers around lunches and food.

The full research report, Connecting Australian Communities Through Dignified Food Relief is available here

The results from the first state surveyed – 124 primary schools and community hubs in South Australia– revealed alarming levels of food insecurity in 2022.

 About the One Box Program

The One Box is a fresh food relief program that provides Australian families in need with a free weekly box of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and bread (approximate retail value of $25 over the entire school year.
The initiative was developed by The Fruit Box Group CEO Martin Halphen and started as a pilot program in 2017. It is a registered charity with a commitment to internal and independent research that informs the work and amplifies the needs of the community. Since 2017, the program has grown from distributing 25,000 fresh food boxes in Victoria, to a national program providing over 100,000 boxes annually.
In 2023, it has a target to provide 150,000 fresh food boxes to 3,500 households weekly across Australia, partnering with over 100 schools and community hubs to help alleviate food insecurity across the country.

For every dollar donated to The One Box program, families in need receive $2 in fresh food supplies.

About Monash Business School

Monash Business School has collaborated with The One Box since 2020 on accounting and business research that has led to scholarly and practical research impacts for the mutual benefit of both organisations and the broader Australian community. Research impact has enabled The One Box to help meet food security needs of Australian families and is aligned to the first two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (no poverty and zero hunger), Monash University’s Impact 2030 strategic focus on Thriving Communities, and the Monash Business School’s vision “to create a thriving, equitable and sustainable future for all.”

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