Lorraine Stuart and her daughter Samantha with the fruit basket they won in one of Aputula Community Store’s weekly draws.
Healthy food and drink is becoming a more popular choice in the remote Northern Territory community of Aputula thanks to some creative initiatives from the local community store.
The Australian Government supports the operation of community stores as part of Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, for their contribution to closing the gap in Indigenous health outcomes.
“The one which is the cornerstone of what we do, and makes everybody pretty excited in the community, is our fruit and vege promotion,” Aputula Community Store manager Nigel Pratt said.
“When the people buy fruit and vege they get an AFL player card. They save up those player cards and that allows them to win various levels of prizes.”
Reducing the consumption of sugary drinks has been another big focus for the store, and Nigel proudly posts monthly statistics on the Aputula Community Store Facebook page to show how the campaign is working.
“When you come into the shop it’s not far to walk to the right to go to the healthy fridge and get diet soft drink for $1.30, but if you want to get the sugary ones you’ve got to go on the walk of shame to the back of the store and pick up your cans of regular soft drink for $3.50,” Nigel said.
“It’s gradually made people turn to the right instead of going to the left on the walk of shame.”
The Aputula Community Store Committee is also working closely with the local health service to help families make the right food choices. Healthier products are given a green label featuring a happy Aboriginal family, and are sold at a lower price.
“People can look at it and go, well that’s green, it’s got the Aboriginal family, it’s got to be good and it’s got to be well priced for us,” Nigel said.
Nigel said community stores are ideal for promoting positive change because they are such a focal point of remote communities.
“It’s not as though someone goes to their shop once a week, fills up a massive trolley full of gear and doesn’t visit the supermarket again until a week’s time,” Nigel said.
“People come in six, seven, eight times a day because every time they do there’ll be someone else to meet up with and talk to.”