The junk food ban that’s got these islands going all organic

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On a tiny set of islands, nestled between the Coral and South Pacific seas, one entire little province is doing what the nu-breed of lifestyle cafes in New Zealand is striving to achieve: go all natural, all sustainable, and all organic.

Torba province, a small collection of islands on the Northern-most tip of Vanuatu, has recently imposed a ban on imported Western convenience and junk foods, and are seeking to go all organic and naturally sustainable by the year 2020.


A brief glimpse into life in Torba

BananasWith a population of just under 10,000 people, the islands here are flush with abundance. Fishing brings fresh fish and shellfish, and the tropical environment yields delicious fruits and vegetables. But just because the islands are isolated and small, does not mean that they haven’t seen a stream of outside foods coming in.

Father Luc Dini outlines why the ban makes sense to the people of Torba, “It is easy to boil noodles or rice, but they have almost no nutritional value and there is no need to eat imported food when we have so much local food grown organically on our islands.”

m&ms, sweetsThe health effects of a Western diet

In many ways, the local authority are much more clever than other organisations the world over. Dini explains the way they’ve noticed other provinces developing health inflictions from the uptake of Western foods, including rotting teeth from the excess of sugar in their diets.

When a people is by nature healthy, and can see the direct effect of junk food on people’s health, it makes sense to curtail these health problems before they start to take root permanently.

The steps towards an all locally grown, organic future in Torba

IslandWhile an all locally grown, organic future is still a few years away, it is now decreed that all tourist bungalows serve only organic, locally produced fare to their guests. Within the next 2 years, not only convenience foods, but all foreign food imports will be banned under local law.

By the year 2020, the islands will be entirely self-sustainable and organic, with the peoples (and the lucky tourists!) eking out a healthy existence, away from the rest of the world.

Want to travel to Torba, and experience it for yourself? Travel from Auckland with Air Vanuatu to Sola in Torba