VHEE fruit & veg network initiatives

Nutrition Australia Vic Division coordinates a network of organisations that work towards improving the supply and consumption of fruit and vegetables in Victoria.

It's called the Victorian Healthy Eating Enterprise (VHEE) Fruit and Vegetable Network.

Scroll down for an update on the initiatives that are on our agenda, and ways that your organisation can get involved.

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Past initiative updates:


Fruit and vegetable consortium

Nutrition Australia Vic Division, Kirsten Johnson

In order to progress state wide initiatives at scale and to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, Nutrition Australia is exploring the formation of a Fruit and Vegetable Consortium. This consortium will be made up of key partner organisations that have high level commitment to collaborate on initiatives to promote fruit and vegetable consumption. Nutrition Australia is currently meeting with interested organisations and completing the background work involved. 

HIA tender opportunity

Hort Innovation is seeking a suitably qualified, experienced and capable delivery partner for the project: New and innovative ways to boost vegetable awareness in schools. See the following for more information: http://horticulture.com.au/tenders/

The objectives of the services being sought are to:

  • Deliver innovative and comprehensive activities targeted at school aged children that seek to increase the awareness of the benefits of vegetable consumption
  • Increase the consumption of vegetables through proven research outcomes
  • Collect and analyse data on the impact of the prescribed diet intervention/initiative on realised consumption, which can be used to measure, monitor and evaluate impacts and guide further investment.

The closing date for responses is Friday 30, June, 2017, 5.00 pm (AEDT). 

Education Week

Victorian Department of Education and Training, Claire Tobin

The Department of Education and Training celebrated Education Week on Sunday 21 to Saturday 27 May 2017 with the theme Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. During Education Week primary and secondary schools and early childhood services are encouraged to showcase the work they are doing to promote healthy minds and bodies.

A key focus in this year’s program was the importance of healthy eating. A range of infographics describing Victorian students’ consumption of fruit and vegetables and the benefits of a healthy diet were developed to raise awareness of why change is required and all schools and early childhood services were encouraged to get involved and promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Schools and early childhood services were encouraged to use Education Week as an opportunity to implement activities to improve the health and wellbeing of students and staff, and work towards the Achievement Program health priority areas at the same time, with a particular focus on healthy eating and oral health. In addition, the Stephanie Alexander Garden Foundation provided a range of ideas for schools and students to try in their classroom and school settings. The Healthy Eating Advisory Service continued to provide support to schools and early childhood services regarding healthy food choices.

Further information about Education Week is available at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/events/Pages/edweek.aspx?Redirect=1

National Nutrition Week

Nutrition Australia Vic Division, Kirsten Johnson

National Nutrition Week 2017 is 15-21 October 2017 #NNW2017. With beginnings more than 20 years ago, National Nutrition Week is Nutrition Australia’s annual healthy eating awareness campaign.

National Nutrition Week always coincides with the United Nations’’ World Food Day, which takes place on 16 October. The theme for National Nutrition Week 2017 is Try for 5, encouraging Australians to increase their vegetable consumption to the recommended five serves per day.

VHEE partners can:

  • Start planning how your organisation can support the fruit and vegetable message during NNW
  • Look out for more information coming closer to the week

Healthy Choices Mentorship Program

Nutrition Australia Vic Division, Kirsten Johnson

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service is offering a training program for people in organisations implementing the Healthy Choices guidelines. This Program aims to increase the number of organisations that are implementing Healthy Choices guidelines by building the capacity of staff driving healthy eating changes in HEAS settings throughout Victoria. The Program has been updated this year to address the main barriers in implementing Healthy Choices. If you would like more information about this Program contact HEAS on 1300 22 52 88 or heas@nutritionaustralia.org

FoodChecker is now live!

Nutrition Australia Vic Division, Kirsten Johnson

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service has developing an online menu assessment tool to allow anyone in a relevant organisation to assess a menu, products or recipes against relevant Victorian Government guidelines. Check it out at: http://foodchecker.heas.health.vic.gov.au

The organisations this tool will be relevant for include:

  • Long day care centres
  • School canteens (including primary and secondary) – coming soon
  • Food retail outlets
  • Caterers

You’ll get immediate feedback and be able to download a report. This tool will be useful to plan healthier menus with more fruits and vegetables, as users will be able to store their recipes and menus in their accounts for future use.

VHEE partners can:

  • Provide HEAS with any feedback about this tool
  • At the time of our official launch (in July) please promote this tool to your networks (we’ll email you)

Salt campaign - launching soon

Heart Foundation, Sian Armstrong

The Heart Foundation Victorian Division is developing phase 2 of our salt awareness campaign.  This campaign is run on behalf of the Victorian Salt Reduction Partnership and aims to raise awareness of the excessive amounts of salt hidden in processed foods. The underlying principle of the campaign is to encourage the consumption of fresh foods (especially fruit and vegetables) in order to reduce salt intake.

VHEE partners can:

  • Share the resources and campaign messages through their channels 

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

SAKGF, Claire McClelland

SAKGF has just released two new educational resources and has one discounted resource:

  • Step-by-Step Visual Cooking and Gardening - this publication provides simple step-by-step instructions accompanied by full-colour photographs for 12 recipes and 12 activities to help students of different ages and skill levels dig into pleasurable food education.
  • Kitchen Garden Syllabus for Primary (Years F-2) Book 1 - this publication extends the kitchen garden program into the early primary years with everything you need to deliver pleasurable food education to students from Foundation to Year 2.
  • 50% OFF! - Complete Set of Tools for Teachers - this set of eight publications shows educators how transform the kitchen and garden into unique learning spaces that are linked to the curriculum.

We've received a great response to the Victorian Pleasurable Food Education Package, with over half of the Packages available already taken up. Supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, the Package offers a unique opportunity for Victorian early years learning centres, primary schools and secondary schools to get access to professional development, educational resources and support at a heavily-reduced rate. 

To support this Package, we're heading to Warrnambool, Bendigo, Geelong, and Bairnsdale to deliver our popular face-to-face training over the next couple of months. This training is also open to all schools and centres in the region.

VHEE partners can:

Achievement Program healthy eating benchmark implementation 

Cancer Council Victoria, Marnie Wilson

As at 13 June 2017 there are currently 150 settings (including workplace and education settings) that have been awarded recognition for the Achievement Program healthy eating area and 331 settings working towards achievement.


Working towards

Achieved benchmark

Total number focused
on HE benchmark

ECEC Service




Primary School




Secondary School














Snapshot of current fruit and vegetable research:

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption through a healthy eating blog: A feasibility study 
Caplette ME, Provencher V, Bissonnette-Maheux V et al

Social media, such as blogs, represent a unique opportunity for improving knowledge translation in health care because they facilitate interactive communication between the public and health professionals. However, no studies have yet evaluated the effect of blogs to promote dietary behaviour changes.

A total of 80 women aged 18 years and older, eating less than five servings per day of fruit and vegetables were recruited. Participants were randomised to the healthy eating blog group (n=40), which included a weekly blog post over a 6-month period, or to a control group (n=40) that had no exposure to the healthy eating blog. Blog posts were written by a registered dietitian and focused on the improvement of fruit and vegetable consumption. During the intervention, 26 posts were published on the blog.

Between the healthy eating blog and control groups, a difference of 1.0 servings of fruits and vegetables indicated moderate effects of the intervention

These results suggest that an intervention using a healthy eating blog meets pre-established feasibility criteria. A larger-scale RCT using the same methodology will be conducted to assess the impact of a healthy eating blog on the dietary habits of women.

The article can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5413798/

Food as medicine: why do we need to eat so many vegetables and what does a serve actually look like? 
Genevieve James-Martin, Gemma Williams, Malcolm Riley

This article highlights the issue of inadequate fruit and vegetable intake in Australian adults, the potential effects on health and solutions to the problem.  Findings show that fruit and vegetable intake in Australian adults were lower than results from the preceding ten years.

In Western countries, achieving the fruit and vegetable guidelines is affected by the convenience and lower cost of high, fat, sugar and grain meals. Furthermore, convenience foods are less perishable than fruit and vegetables, thus creating less food wastage then fresh options. Convenience foods high in energy pose a health concern due to the increased risk of obesity, especially in women.

Increasing fruit and vegetable intake should focus on the environments in which children are influenced most, such as in home and at school.

Policy alternatives include subsidising healthy food options, taxing unhealthy food options, improving food labelling and stricter control on marketing of unhealthy foods, to encourage healthy food choices. Moreover, enjoying a variety of fresh produce is suggested to increase consumption and buying fresh produce that is in season and not canned or frozen may improve affordability.

The article can be found here:



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