Last year, I was quite moved by this story on Landline about an Australian ex-farmer who worked in the Solomon Islands; their diets had become dependent on heavily processed imported food at the expense of local fruit, vegetables and fish.
“A lot of them seem to think that something that comes in a packet from Australia or maybe China is better because it’s packaged and it’s been processed so it’s a more prestigious sort of food than their local food that they can grow in the garden,” said Graham Lyons.
I recalled this when I stumbled upon a podcast about food insecurity in the Torres Strait and remote communities where a “very ordinary cauliflower cost seven dollars”. Here, healthy food is not affordable costing two to four times as much as in the city whereas junk food prices are comparable. Three thousand kilometres of freight add approximately 10-20% to the base price. The Islanders Board of Industry and Service seem to be doing great work, working closely with the health sector.
Yet I couldn’t help but think there should be more emphasis on locally grown food, with plants indigenous to the area. But I do understand I know nothing about this territory!
And so, this is a self-indulgent directory for me, as I wade into a whole new topic… local food for food security. Perhaps you’ll find it interesting too?
The Island Food Community of Pohnpei are working towards a productive, environmentally sound island where a diversity of locally grown island food is produced and consumed, providing food security, sustainable development, economic benefits, self-reliance, improved health, cultural preservation, and human dignity whilst protecting the natural resources.
Growing fruit and vegetables in communities is one way to increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, to improve nutrition, and to help impact on this disease burden. Through changing local diets, remote NT Gardens has the potential to reduce the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal Australians.
Foodswell aims to create change towards food security and food sovereignty for all Australians. Foodswell walks the talk between remote, rural and urban Australian to seed change to enable more people to enjoy healthy, reliable, sustainable food.
A manual for documenting traditional food systems (2.5MB) from CINE Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems for Health Promotion: Global Health
Tasmanian agricultural scientist, Bruce French has documented the world’s most complete and comprehensive database of edible plants. These plants thrive in their homelands, provide nutrition and, most importantly, help the hungry feed themselves. Learn◊Grow has produced a plain English database of 24,000 edible plants. Tip from @ComingFamine.
RIG Network is a networking, advocacy and capacity building initiative that aims to foster and support sustainable food production activities in and by remote communities.