Jamie's Food Truck heading to Ararat

ARARAT - The Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food Truck will head to Ararat Rural City in 2013, intent on educating residents on how to cook and eat healthy food with the aim of reducing obesity.

In March Ararat was named the local government area with the most obese population in Victoria in a study carried out four years ago, with the State Government announcing that 59 percent of the population was overweight or obese.

Ararat and 10 other local government areas will be visited by the Jamie's Ministry of Food Truck as part of the Prevention Community Model, a jointly-funded initiative from the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.

The Jamie's Ministry of Food Truck is a purpose built, fully equipped mobile kitchen classroom, designed to deliver practical cooking classes to communities.

It aims to give as many people as possible the tools and information they need to be able to make better food choices, so we can ensure healthier and happier communities.

The program consists of a 10-week cooking course with participants attending a 90 minute class each week.

Classes will be led by a team of dedicated Jamie's Ministry of Food trainers and are completely hands on, so participants get to see, smell, feel and taste everything they cook.

Each week participants learn to cook simple, healthy and tasty meals using fresh ingredients, as well as picking up some of Jamie's tips and hints.

The Good Foundation and Minister for Health David Davis officially opened Jamie's Ministry of Food kitchen in Geelong last week.

Mr Davis said Jamie's Ministry of Food in Moorabool Street Geelong was also part of the Prevention Community Model.

"We are committed to working with the community in tackling preventable diseases, obesity and chronic illness and promoting healthier lifestyles," Mr Davis said.

Mr Davis said the Victorian Coalition Government was targeting more than $100 million of State and National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health funding on a range of statewide and local strategies to turn around unhealthy lifestyles.

"This includes $2.87 million for The Good Foundation to deliver cooking classes through the Jamie's Ministry of Food Geelong centre and a mobile kitchen which will travel to 11 other sites, setting up for 10 weeks at a time," Mr Davis said.

"Jamie's Ministry of Food Geelong and the mobile kitchen will provide cooking courses for more than 10,000 Victorians."

As well as in Ararat, from early 2013 the mobile kitchen will deliver cooking classes to residents of Cardinia, Central Goldfields, Bendigo, Dandenong, Hume, Knox, Latrobe, Mildura, Pyrenees, Whittlesea, Wodonga and Wyndham municipalities.

The Good Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that has partnered with Jamie Oliver and The Good Guys to roll-out Jamie's Ministry of Food throughout Australia.

Mr Davis said the Victorian Coalition Government recognised the importance of good health to each Victorian as an individual, to their families and to the Victorian community.

"Good health is important for the learning and development of young people, and it is important for a strong and resilient workforce," Mr Davis said.

"We are seeking to position Victoria as a world leader in prevention, through progressive and responsive initiatives.

"The Prevention Community Model aims to improve people's health where they live, learn, work and play. By addressing the underlying causes of chronic preventable disease, local communities will develop local solutions for healthy living.

"The Prevention Community Model is an excellent example of all levels of government working together and committing to building healthier communities."

A date for the visit of the Ministry of Food Truck to Ararat has yet to be scheduled.

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