Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Australia is working with Fulton College, Fiji, to help it become a centre of influence to improve community health.
A Sanitarium team recently helped to construct a garden nursery at Fulton, which will enable the college to cultivate its own fruit and vegetables. The team also supported Fulton with a bore drilling project that will provide an ongoing water supply on the college grounds.
The initiative was part of a community service day that was organised by Sanitarium in conjunction with ADRA Fiji. The day also involved Sanitarium staff helping out at two local schools, doing a number of maintenance and gardening projects. Sanitarium provided healthy breakfasts for 250 students and their families, and donated sporting equipment and stationery to the schools.
Sanitarium general manager sales Steve Beams said the main objective of the day was to provide Fulton with the assets and skills to champion more sustainable practices for fruit and vegetable production and water use, both at the university and the surrounding community.
“Our hope is that Fulton College will share their learnings with the nearby schools, who now also have their own nurseries to cultivate fresh fruit and vegetables, and over time become more self-sustaining,” Mr Beams said.
“While we were in Fiji, we learnt that this country has the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world—about four out of every 10 adults. Furthermore, only 16 per cent of the population is aged more than 55 years due to premature deaths primarily caused by non-communicable diseases. In part, this is due to increased consumption of highly processed foods, which are often cheap and accessible, and decreased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Sedentary lifestyle is the other major factor.
“By making locally-grown, nutritious and less energy-dense foods more accessible, we hope the nurseries will go some way to helping this community adopt healthier eating behaviours—now and into the future.”
Leading up to the trip, Sanitarium employees were involved in fundraising activities for the community service day, raising more than $A11,000. They also personally donated stationery and books to the schools.
The community service day was part of this year’s Sanitarium Sales, Marketing and Category Conference, which was themed “Together Towards Tomorrow”.