Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme
Objective: The South West Food Community (SWFC) project (2018) aimed to identify initiatives working to support food security in the South West region of Western Australia, and to enhance how these initiatives functioned as a system. The SWFC project used a Systemic Innovation Lab approach that, prior to this study, had not been evaluated. This evaluation aimed to: i) measure system transitions (changes) to initiatives; and ii) understand the challenges and successes associated with system transitions.
Methods: SWFC initiative leaders (n=46) such as directors, managers or coordinators, volunteers or committee members were invited to participate in this evaluation. Fifteen stakeholders completed the telephone interviews (32% response rate).
Results: Twenty‐five desirable changes in practice were observed. Challenge and success statements determined themes of ‘participation’ and ‘bureaucracy’. Participation sub‐themes included: limited time; poor initiative attendance; community support; organisational support; and effective partnerships. Bureaucracy sub‐themes included: regulation or policy requirements; limited resources; and funding opportunities.
Conclusion: The Australian‐first SWFC project has the capacity to support region‐to‐region comparisons; this evaluation increases evidence for scaling to other regions.
Implications for public health: This approach can be used to increase collaboration between initiatives, support resource‐sharing between organisations and enhance policies (at local government level) to support food security.
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