Loukatai children eating more locally-produced food

Loukatai Primary School on the southern island of Tanna has piloted a project to encourage the consumption of food grown on the island, to promote traditional Vanuatu dishes and healthy eating.

Health teacher at the school, Norine Koda, says the project supports the children to eat only local food at school reducing their interest in consuming too much candy and sweets from the stores.

She says the program has made the children happier and more active in class and encouraged them to share with each other.

Joe, one of the students at the school, says since the program began, he has been eating only local food such as cassava, fish and pumpkin tops every Wednesday.

“This week, I may get cassava at school again for lunch,” he said.

The Chief for Loukatai Community, also a parent, Kailes Willie, says he is proud and happy the program is operating in the school.

“This will encourage the people of Vanuatu to go back to eating local and it’s good to start with the children,” Chief Willie said.

He says, in his own family, children were the ones avoiding local food when the family cooked-up traditional meals. But, he says he believes the program will get children appreciating and eating more local food.

“Now my grandchild who attends the school has started enjoying local food again,” he said.

One mother from Loukatai community, Kamana Dickson, says she has noticed a change too – and says now when she cooks local food, her children enjoy it.

“I’m happy, as I can see that many of the children have started eating local food and ignoring rice which is so good,” Mrs Dickson said.

The Loukatai Primary School says it hopes other schools will follow its lead and will also run ‘eat local’ programs that will promote healthy eating and the consumption of locally-grown food.

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