The Family Food Patch program aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanian children and families through promotion of eating well and being active. Using peer education, Family Food Patch empowers families and local communities by building and mobilising skills in children’s nutrition, physical activity and community action.
Family Food Patch started in because of clearly identified issues and frustrations that parents in Tasmania expressed around feeding their children. They reported needing to know more about what a healthy diet for children is, how to manage fussy eaters, healthy and delicious snacks and lunchbox ideas, cooking nutritious family food on a budget, introducing solids and what drinks children should be having. In later years the physical activity needs of children, and fun ideas to get children active and reducing screen time became a key issue identified as well.
Volunteer Family Food Educators are provided with free training, resources and evidence based information to assist them to address the common food and physical activity concerns of parents in their own local community. They are then encouraged and supported to spread the message about healthy eating and physical activity in their local area. Since , training has been provided to over 400 parents, carers and community/health workers in over 30 different locations throughout Tasmania.
The Family Food Patch program is delivered in partnership between Families Tasmania and Population Health Services within the Department of Health. Families Tasmania receives funding from the Tasmanian State Government, through the Department of Health, to provide Family Food Patch.
Who are Family Food Educators?
Family Food Educators are volunteer parents and community members of any age with an interest in children’s healthy eating and physical activity. Educators come from a variety of different backgrounds, and are often already involved in their community or are interested in sharing their knowledge and experiences with other families.
What do Family Food Educators do?
Family Food Educators live and volunteer in our local communities across Tasmania. They promote eating well and being active for children and their families in a whole range of ways such as…
Run workshops or information sessions with parent groups;
Set up Nature Play groups or walking school buses;
Help schools and childcare services get involved with the Move Well Eat Well program;
Host practical food activities like taste testing, cooking or sharing meals at community venues;
Put helpful articles in school or childcare newsletters;
Set up displays or activities at a local community event or school fair;
Encourage school canteens to join the Tasmanian School Canteen accreditation program;
Help sporting groups to provide better food and drink choices;
Promoting healthy messages through their own role modelling;
By being involved with activities that include other parents in their community.
All our Family Food Educators receive a quarterly newsletter, along with personal development and networking opportunities to further enhance skills through a variety of health promotion workshops, specially developed resources and presentations.
In 2011, we collected 15 Family Food Educator stories to include in the Family Food Patch Storybook. This great resource demonstrates the value of the program and the broad range of ways Family Food Educators share nutrition and physical activity information in their communities.The program values all of the different ways Family Food Educators spread their message. What they do depends on their interest, time, availability, and community needs.
In August 2015 we launched our latest Educator Storybook: Helping Tasmanian Families Build Healthy Communities. which further shows how valued the evolving program has been to Educators and community ambassadors in its continual support, updating of resources and the development and strengthening of skills and networks across Tasmania.
If you are an individual, or an organisation, that is interested in participating in or bringing the Family Food Patch training to your community, please don’t hesitate to contact the Program Manager.
Please note that the Family Food Patch program has very strong community support within Tasmania, and as such we get many more requests for training than we currently have the capacity to fulfil. The Program Manager will be happy to discuss your request for training and advise you of our current commitments and plans. Each year we schedule two training courses across Tasmania — most recently we have trained in Queenstown, Rocherlea, Chigwell, St Helens, Devonport and Moonah.
Requesting assistance from our volunteers
If you think your community group may benefit from a volunteer Family Food Educator presenting a short topic, hosting an information stall or coordinating an activity we welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you. You can download our Request Form or contact the Program Manager for further details.
Are you interested in learning about delicious healthy eating and fun ways to get children active?
Family Food Patch runs a FREE training program to help with practical ideas, great resources and support for you to share with your family and wider community! It’s fun, informal and interactive.
Our next training will be in Gagebrook at the Community House.
Tuesdays from .
The program runs each Tuesday for 6 weeks from 9.30am–2.30pm.
Limited spaces available, so registration in advance is essential.
Free childcare and some help with travel available.