Eating healthy in the Pacific

Dr Tracy Berno of Lincoln University showed us an image that irks her about the Pacific: “carrots”.

It’s on most menus – despite it being imported. She also showed a stunning pic of a fijian beach, with fish most likely teeming in the water while she eats curried tinned mackerel.

As a result, she, chef Robert Oliver and a Fijian photographer did a project which has now led to the best cook book in the world, Mea Kai,  tv series and a slow but sure movement in resorts to use more local produce.

Prior to this, I heard Dr Matalavea and Dame Carol Kidu talk about what our traditional diets used to be.

All three above alluded to farmers or growers as important people that we should celebrate. Which contrasts hugely with where I come from, farming or rather, the plantation is where you end up if you fail academically or don’t get into the Manu Samoa.

But the real question is, is planting economically viable? Can it sustain the needs of a Pacific family trying to put children through schools, medical bills, electricity, soagamea a le loku, komiti, guu etc etc? What say you?

My point is, I have seen in my own village families who work so hard with their plantations and the returns from their produce are hardly enough to sustain them – there is not enough markets, the standard of living is ..crayyyyyzee and so forth.

My point is, it ain’t easy.

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