South Pacific islands ban western junk food and go organic

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/03/south-pacific-islands-vanuatu-torba-ban-western-junk-food-health-organic

The link above describes the province Torba, part of the South Pacific island Vanautu, in its decision to halt importing foreign food. The leaders of the province note that the area is self-sustaining, and those who have indulged in western junk food have started to notice health problems.

I think it is fascinating that in the era of globalization there are still opportunities to create local communities with little outside influence. This article also points out a large disparity between the food industry in America and other areas- in the US, eating organic and local is considered a luxury for many; meanwhile, in Vanautu, it is the normal way of life.

Hopefully this decision inspires other regions to follow suit and switch their food systems to more localized alternatives.

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1 thought on “South Pacific islands ban western junk food and go organic”

  1. I think this is a great initiative by the Northernmost province of Vanuatu. Trying to become independent from food exports could potentially increase overall health in the island, but only time and research will tell.

    One interesting point I’d like to discuss is how sustainable can choosing to only use domestic products really be in regards to sustaining not only the people of Torba, but the tourist that visit the province. Tourism is a big factor in the overall GDP of Vanuatu, accounting for 18.6% of the overall GDP and is predicted to grow at a high rate over the next decade with estimates over 50% by 2025.

    (https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic%20impact%20research/countries%202015/vanuatu2015.pdf)

    It’s interesting how this would play out as the article mentions a drought in Vanuatu’s kava cup, the choice of alcoholic drink in the island. A previous article by The Guardian mentions about a shortage in Kava and potential over-exploitation.
    (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/21/vanuatus-kava-cup-runs-low-thirst-increases-drink-choice)

    Another interesting comment on the article is the opinion of the country men/women on what they consider locally grown or sourced food (from region).

    “Dini said his province had an abundance of locally grown or sourced food to sustain its population including fish, crabs, shellfish, taro, yams, paw paw and pineapple.”

    Taro – originates from South Central Asia (India) and spread towards East and South East Asia.
    (http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/ac450e/ac450e04.htm)

    Yams – originates from Africa.
    (http://science.jrank.org/pages/7437/Yam.html)

    Pineapple – originates from South America.
    (https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/pineapple.html)

    It’s interesting to visualize the spread of the crop from the origin, specially after discussing this theme in class.

    Like

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