Support The Local Economy – Eat Local Food

By Jackson Henry —-

Greek Philosopher Epicurus said over 2000 ago, “you are what you eat”. Today, nutritionists affirm Epicurus’ point by advising us to eat healthy food to stay fit and to avoid fatty, salty and over sweetened processed foods. However, many in Palaudo not heed Epicurus’ message or are simply obsessed with imported foods. This has led many to poor health and driven Palauup the rank as the world’s 7th most obese nation.

According to statistics,Palauimports about 85% of its food from foreign countries. Our agricultural production only amount to about $500K annually. Of the millions of square meters of arable lands inPalau, only 179 hectares are being utilized for farming. This shows a big gape in our economy as bulk of the cash inflow from our tourism industry eventually circulates back out ofPalau. It also proves that the local food market is wide open for improvement and expansion.

Hence, it is no surprise that President Toribiong declared Green Revolution to encourage Palauans to plant local food for domestic consumption and for commercial purposes. Aside from improving our health, local food improves our local economy by keeping money at home and strengthens our nation as far as food security is concerned.

Recently, the discovery of various chemicals in food produced in theUShas put many consumers on a defensive posture. According to Joy Hays, Ph.D., many food producers are fighting tooth-and-nail with US Government regulators to deceive the consumers. For instance, Chickens raised in factory farms are injected or fed with arsenic, caffeine, and active ingredients from Prozac, Tylenol and Benadryl. Studies have shown Chicken feathers to have Fluoroquinolones, which are banned antibiotics that poses dangers to human health.

A public outraged was sparked in theUSwhen they were made aware of LFTB or “pink slime” in hamburger meat. This food product is manufactured by taking beef trimming and treating them with Ammonium Hydroxide to kill dangerous bacteria. The strength of the chemicals has the capacity to breed antibiotic resistant microorganisms.

For plant based foods, GMC or Genetically Modified Crops, are now starting to appear in our salads. US consumers are worried that GMC have potential to introduce new allergens, antibiotic resistance and are less nutritious that their “natural” forebears.

The problem with import foods is that Palauans do not know what they are eating due to lack of transparency on the part food producers and processors.

To be safe, healthy and wealthy, it is emphasized that we Palauans get back to our traditional foods like taro, fish, vegetables and fruits. Locally grown foods are natural, free of trans-fats, artificial ingredients, preservatives and antibiotics. When we buy local, the money remains circulating inPalauand bolsters the local economy as well. If that Greek Philosopher is alive inPalautoday, he will certainly brand Palauan foods as, “Epicurian delights”.

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