Innovative research led by Assoc. Prof Kaye Mehta exploring food system literacy

Assoc. Prof. Kaye Mehta has been exploring food system literacy as a way to (a) broaden the public discourse on food and health, and (b) engage people in food citizenship. The compelling evidence that after many years of investment in nutrition education, the population’s diet is still not healthy, has spurred Kaye and her team of researchers to consider other ways of approaching ‘healthy eating’.

With scant critical health literacy on the food system, consumers are known to adopt a passive relationship with the dominant industrial food supply. Food consumption behaviours oriented towards social and environmental sustainability will by default be healthier choices favouring less meat and processed foods, and more locally produced fruits and vegetables.

In 2016, Kaye and her team comprising Dr. Sue Booth, Prof. John Coveney, Prof. Paul Ward, Prof. Richard Woodman and Ms. Hannah Rohrlach, developed a short online food system curriculum exploring environmental sustainability, equity and health aspects of food production, distribution and consumption. Forty-seven students and staff completed the online course and showed statistically significant increases in self-perceived knowledge about, and attitudes towards the food system.

In 2017, BND Honours student Sarah Scott is working with the team to investigate behavioural changes in this group against the Theory of Planned Behaviour change. In July 2017 Kaye presented on the food system literacy work at a Dietitians Association of Australia CPD event “Nutrition and Sustainability”. Dietitians attending appeared to be interested in the subject matter and Flinders Nutrition & Dietetics is consequently interested to hear from our professional community about interest in: (a) cpd on ‘dietitians/nutritionists and the food system’, and (b) delivering our food system curriculum to the public. For more information contact:

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