Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing, a Seventh-day Adventist food company in Australia, is working with Fulton College in Fiji to create a Center of Influence to improve community health.
A Sanitarium team recently helped to construct a garden nursery at Fulton, a Seventh-day Adventist tertiary educational institution. The new garden nursery will enable the school to cultivate its own fruit and vegetables. The team also supported Fulton with a well-drilling project that will provide an ongoing water supply on the college grounds.
The initiative was part of a community service day organized by Sanitarium, in conjunction with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Fiji. The day also involved Sanitarium staff helping at two local schools, where they conducted a number of maintenance and gardening projects. Sanitarium provided a healthy breakfast for 250 students and their families and donated sporting equipment and stationery to the schools.
Sanitarium general sales manager Steve Beams said the primary objective of the day was to provide Fulton College 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. “We hope that Fulton College will share their learnings with the nearby schools, which now also have their nurseries to cultivate fresh fruit and vegetables, and over time, become more self-sustaining,” Beams said.
Beams shared that while in Fiji, the team learned that the country has the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world — about four out of every ten adults. Also, only 16 percent of the population is more than 55 years old because of a high rate of premature death, primarily caused by non-communicable diseases. In part, Beams said, this is due to high consumption of processed foods, which are cheap and easily accessible, and decreased use of fruits and vegetables. A sedentary lifestyle is the other major factor, he added.
“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 behaviors — now and into the future,” Beams said.
The community service day was part of this year’s Sanitarium Sales, Marketing, and Category Conference, which was themed “Together Towards Tomorrow.”
Leading up to the trip, Sanitarium leaders reported that employees were involved in fundraising activities for the community service day, collecting more than AUD$11,000 (about US$8,100), leaders reported. “Out of their funds, they also donated stationery and books to several schools,” they said.