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AnglicareSA and the City of Onkaparinga recently joined forces in a pilot project helping people not only shop smarter and healthier – but importantly cut down on their grocery bills.

Led by the City of Onkaparinga and AnglicareSA’s Communities for Children Onkaparinga, the Smart Shopper Tours also brought together The Green Gourmet, Rotary Club of Seaford, and Drakes Supermarket for two-hour sessions to help strengthen family meal planning skills.

The sessions were hosted at Drakes at the Seaford Central Shopping Centre with participants learning how to shop for and cook with healthier, less expensive foods, understand food labels, shop based on the seasons, all while making savings by buying for better value.

Janine Carger, AnglicareSA Manager, Children and Families South, said the Smart Shopper Tours were a fantastic initiative at a time when many families are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

“Food security, healthy cheap meals, and opportunities for connection in the community for children and their families featured strongly in a community wide consultation, undertaken by our Communities for Children Onkaparinga team,” Janine said.

“This consultation highlighted a real interest and need within the community for more information and ways to save money in the supermarket.

“Communities for Children reached out to the City of Onkaparinga, which was already working on food security within the community, regarding collaborating on developing a pilot program relevant to and within our own community.”

The Smart Shopper Tour pilot was attended by 20 community members over the four sessions, with an equal split of families with young children and older adults with adult children.

“At each of the sessions, the group was supportive of each other and shared ideas,” she said. “They were very engaged, asked lots of questions, and were eager to learn.

“Many of those who attended revealed they had challenges with ‘fussy eaters’ or dietary restrictions and through the program were able to gain many tips and tricks to help them eat healthier, including increasing their intake of vegetables and replacing snack foods with healthier and money-saving options.”

The Tours were facilitated by The Green Gourmet’s Andrea Ball who is a local food educator and recipe developer with a focus on eating and cooking local, seasonal, affordable foods.

She has extensive experience in health literacy and community engagement programs with young families.

Each participant received a $15 Drakes voucher to spend at the workshop thanks to the Rotary Club of Seaford with the tour finishing at Seaford Library with a recipe development workshop.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were said cost of living was front of mind for many in the community.

“The Smart Shopper Tour pilot program was created in response to the rising cost of living, reduced income and lack of access to good food, which are leading to increased food insecurity,” she said.

“Partnering with AnglicareSA Communities for Children was invaluable because it allowed us to target local families who would benefit the most from the program. The support of Drakes and Rotary Club of Seaford ensured a successful pilot program that provided us with plenty of learnings and feedback for next time.”