Green Box — Red Box Nutrition Project
Green Box — Red Box aims to improve the health of individuals and families through improved food security and by breaking the cycle of feast and famine.
Green Box/Red Box delivers food security to families and builds social norms about industriousness, healthy eating and spending. Green Box/Red Box intends to break the feast and famine cycles that exists in communities by cultivating individuals to take responsibility for providing for themselves, their families and their communities with healthier food choices.
Green Box/Red Box works with individuals and families to increase access to affordable and healthy food by teaching them to grow produce for their use or by supplying them with a weekly fruit and vegetable box. Brokering arrangements will be in place to manage any shortfall of produce for the food boxes.
Families will have access to education on food preparation, storage and cooking and support to obtain adequate food preparation facilities and have all household members contributing their fair share to food costs.
Green Box/Red Box has the potential to offer economic development through opportunities for local community members to grow their own produce and employment levels through the development of backyard and market gardens, and the packaging and storage process.
Families who sign up to Green Box/Red Box are required to do a plan through the MPower money management program, that assists families to meet their basic needs and build wealth. Through an MPower Conversation, coaches work with families to map out where they are in their lives, where they want to be and what they need to do to get there. Participants set goals and build family budgets and receive follow up coaching sessions to help them stay on track. Green Box/Red Box will be open to families in Hope Vale where the Green Box/Red Box pilot program will take place.
• Families have food security and the ‘feast and famine’ cycle is broken.
• Families have increased access to quality and affordable healthy food.
• Families have necessary food storage, preparation, cooking and consumption commodities and facilities.
• All household members are contributing their ‘fair share’ towards food costs.
• There are market solutions for fresh fruit and vegetables which is stimulating local production and opening up local small business enterprise opportunities.
The case for reform
Remote Indigenous Australians have the worst health outcomes of any group in Australia. Life expectancy is 59 years for Indigenous men and 65 years for Indigenous women1,17 years less than non indigenous Australians. Infant mortality is twice as high and babies are twice as likely to have a low birth weight2. There are significantly higher rates of chronic diseases linked to poor nutrition including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and kidney disease3.
Typical diets are high in energy content, fats and sugar and low in nutritional value, and consumption of sugar, white flour and carbonated soft drinks is significantly higher3.
Fruit and vegetable consumption is strongly linked to the prevention of chronic disease and to better health4. Remote Indigenous nutritional problems are caused by lack of available fresh produce and when available, it is expensive, convenience of fast foods that are high in fats and sugar, lack of understanding about food preparation and storage and lack of knowledge about nutritious foods.
Funding and partnerships
Green Box/Red Box is a component of the Economic Stream of the Cape York Welfare Reform Agenda – a tripartite partnership between the Australian and Queensland Governments, and Cape York Partnerships (CYP). Welfare Reform currently operates in Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.
CYP is seeking funding from the Department of Health and Aging and will be looking to partner with fruit and vegetable growers and suppliers in Cape York.
Alignment with the Cape York Agenda
CYP’s role is to implement the social, economic and cultural development goals of the Cape York Agenda, developed by indigenous leaders from Cape York. CYP has developed a Third Way to enable Aboriginal families to move from passive welfare dependency to real economic participation. This Third Way shifts from passive service delivery to an approach that combines personal and family responsibility, capabilities development and tangible opportunity products to enable individual and family pathways to a better life.
Individuals, families or communities can learn to grow enough food themselves to provide a good and reliable supply of healthy food and/or have access to an affordable and reliable supply of healthy food, and become less reliant on indirect passive welfare (eg:. provision of food).
3. ABS, 4704.0: AHMAC 2006
4. ABS, 4704.0: NHMRC 2003a, NHMRC 2003b