"Let’s Go Local" - Guidelines for Promoting Pacific Island Food


"Let’s Go Local"

Guidelines for Promoting Pacific Island Food

Prepared by Dr. Lois Englberger
FAO Consultant, 2011

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2011


Over the past decades, food and dietary patterns in Pacific Island Countries have undergone significant changes. Traditional diets consisting of fresh fish, root crops, breadfruit and local fruits and vegetables have been increasingly replaced by imported, often highly processed foods such as white rice, flour, instant noodles, canned foods, fatty low grade meats and soft drinks with a high sugar content. At the same time, a more sedentary lifestyle is becoming common among many Pacific Islanders.

As a result, Pacific Island Countries now face a wave of dietary and lifestyle-related health problems. Chronic non-communicable diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer are now the main causes of death, illness and disability among adults in the Pacific Island Countries. Furthermore, countries are burdened by micro-nutrient deficiencies related to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet, such as vitamin A deficiency and anaemia.

There is evidence that the traditional diet, lifestyles and food systems of the Pacific protected people in the past against these health problems while also conserving the environment and preserving traditional customs and culture. Food composition data provides scientific evidence of the rich nutrient content and health benefits of the traditional foods, including breadfruit, banana, taro, yam, cassava and sweet potato, as well as coconut, fish and seafood, and various fruits and vegetables.

This booklet written by Dr. Lois Englberger is based on the "go local" concept developed by the Island Food Community of Pohnpei. The guidelines suggest how people and groups in other countries or regions can adapt this approach to suit their situations in order to promote the sustainable production and consumption of nutritious local foods.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms

1. Background to “Let’s Go Local”
2. Our “Let’s Go Local” Project in the Federated States of Micronesia
3. How to Get Started: Key Questions
4. Going Forward: “Let’s Go Local”
5. Evaluating Your Progress
6. Overall Lessons Learned
7. Examples of “Going Local”
8. To Conclude: “Let’s Go Local”


List of Appendices:

Annex 1  Food composition/nutrition information: Pacific local foods
               versus imported foods
Annex 2  Samples of “Let’s go local” materials
Annex 3  Sample survey tool for evaluation purposes
Annex 4  FSM National Government Proclamation on Food Security
               Issue, June 7, 2010


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