About The Lantern Project

The Lantern Project - Australia

The Lantern Project was founded in 2013 by Dr Cherie Hugo, an Accredited Practising Dietitian with nearly 20 years' experience in private practice, director of My Nutrition Clinic and PhD focused on Quantifying the Value of Nutrition in Aged Care. Cherie and her My Nutrition Clinic team consults to aged care homes in Queensland and New South Wales and are passionate about ensuring aged care residents are well nourished and excited about eating.

Good food should be the highlight of the day for aged care residents but sometimes it falls short of expectations. I started The Lantern Project as a way to explore and illuminate ways to further improve the food and dining experience for residents. The Lantern collaboration is a diverse mix of aged care stakeholders with the shared goal to improve the quality of life of aged care residents through the joy of good food.

The Lantern Project now has over 850 collaborative members across Australia and internationally with many aged care organisations, peak industry bodies, allied health, researchers and resident advocates involved. The collaboration meets on a monthly basis (the first Friday of each month) focusing on key priority areas and actively welcomes new members to join in the conversation.

The project has a research arm and has 11 papers currently published and under review demonstrating the positive impact of taking a food-focused approach to resident care. The project has 3 working groups currently underway around the areas of Dining Experience, Legal and Quality Food Issues and Food Activities Connecting Generations.

There are regular student projects included, the most recent being the Lantern Aged Care Food Safari which culminated in 14 videos showing "Little Things" (cost neutral, novel changes in food service that have demonstrated big, positive impact on the lives of residents).

The combined action-based research, working groups and national collaboration of The Lantern Project together work to demonstrate simple ways to meet the vision of improving older Australian's quality of life through the joy of food. These learnings are shared to assist in shaping changes in aged care regulation through the project's involvement on the Australian Aged Care Quality Standards Guidance Reference Group, the Australian Aged Care Workforce IRC's Nutrition and Mealtime Experience Technical Advisory Committee and in an advisory capacity to government.


Our purpose is to shine the light on the issue of food in aged care using good old-fashioned fresh, local produce, utilising the wisdom of our older residents (some have been cooking for more than 80 years) and do this in a collaborative way.

The lantern shines in all directions. To develop relevant solutions we need to draw on the wisdom of as diverse a collective of experts associated with aged care to develop novel ways to improve our residents' lives through great food.


To improve the quality of life of older Australians through good food and nutrition.


Objective 1 – To quantify the value of good nutrition in aged care through The Lantern Project research.
Objective 2 – To advocate for more of a focus on nutrition in the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and accreditation process - currently does not focus on nutrition.
Objective 3 – To advocate for the development of healthy eating guidelines for the elderly – focus on flavour/the joy of eating.
Objective 4 – To empower the RACF catering staff – education, food fortification Vs supplements
Objective 5 – Edible Gardens – actively involving residents, outdoor activity, fresh air, connection with food and sense of purpose.
Objective 6 – Involve and empower residents and their families in food decisions.
Objective 7 – Support the use of Australian produce – bargain for better contracts, access better quality food.


Original Founding members of The Lantern Project collaborative were:


  • Ita Buttrose AO - Ambassador for Alzheimer's Australia
  • Glenn Rees - former CEO Alzheimer's Australia
  • Dr Chris Del Mar - Bond University
  • Bond University
  • My Nutrition Clinic
  • Loqui Speech Pathology
  • Dining Experience Specialists
  • Soil to Supper
  • Hotel Services Management Solutions
  • Tibor's Kitchen
  • Flavour Creations
  • Nutrition Australia
  • Comcater
  • Dementia Training Australia
  • Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • LASA
  • DAA