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The internal Wellbeing and Environmental Sustainability Working Group at Western District Health Service have recently trialled a WDHS Food Swap.   In late December, the first (hopefully of many!) food swap was held for staff and volunteers. The WDHS community was encouraged to meet to share homemade, home grown and foraged goods with each other. Food Swaps are a super way to broaden your pantry and diet, get rid of surplus foods you may have grown or made yourself (bulk zucchinis ring a bell?), be mindful of food miles, pick up tips around growing your own and connect with others. The first swap at WDHS during the week before Christmas was a success. The group plan to make the Swaps monthly events this year. Organiser Jacinta Wareham said she was thrilled with the range of contributions people brought along, which included vegetables, herbs, fruit, floral arrangements, eggs, egg cartons, seeds and recipes. “And I loved the conversations that flowed around the room – ‘what plant is that? What do you do with it? .What can I cook with this?’ It was really great to see the inventiveness of people who didn’t necessarily have a productive vegetable garden, but found other ways that they could contribute. Our motto is ‘take what you need, give what you can’. And don’t forget to bring a bag!”   Could your workplace, school or sporting club benefit from hosting a food swap? You might be surprised at what hidden talents lay within your community! To learn more about how Western District Health Service have started their swaps, get in touch at hello@genr8change.com   

SGSC Family Day care provides childcare like no other, eight unique home environments offer lots of benefits in their own ways, and lots revolve around healthy eating and physical activity at Debbie White’s home care! Debbie has been providing care for several years, and has always had a strong emphasis on ensuring children spend more time outdoors than they do inside, and get plenty exposure to nature. Over the past little while, Debbie has been hard at work implementing more strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of the children in her care, and the list is extensive – well done Debbie! Debbie leads children on a ‘garden walk’ every morning, rain hail or shine – because “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. Debbie’s care environment has plenty of green and bush space, and the children love going on their morning walk exploring for around an hour to get their day started. They stop off and feed the chooks and collect the eggs, that they sometimes use in the kitchen later in the day Debbie nurtures a vegetable garden with the children, involving them in planting, watering and harvesting produce. At the moment the children are loving watching their beans, silverbeet, carrots and tomatoes flourish! Occasionally, Debbie cooks with the children, often whipping up things like pancakes topped with fruit, using the eggs children collect from the resident chooks each morning Debbie continues to build on her outdoor environment to make it conducive to lots of outdoor active play. Debbie regularly sets up obstacle courses throughout the yard that the kids adore, and has designed a permanent ‘bike track’ underneath her car port, where she has road signs and rules to teach the children road safety.                    Debbie says the response from children and parents alike towards her approach has been extremely positive, all her strategies are embedded in daily practice now so it’s ‘just the way we do things’. Debbie is turning to focus more on the nutrition side next, looking to trial a change in the way the children do ‘fruit time’, encouraging shared consumption of cut fruit rather than each child being confined to consuming the one piece of fruit they each bring from home. Debbie’s enthusiasm is backed by a healthy eating/nutrition policy in place with the SGSC Family Day Care unit that is currently being reviewed and expanded. Big congratulations to Debbie for all she is doing to make healthy choices easy, and to the SGSC team for supporting her to do so! To find out more about Family Day Care services offered by Southern Grampians Shire Council, contact Kim Ayling on 55518484, or email kayling@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au