Public Issue

Growing Gardens in Marshall Islands to Combat Diabetes

60 years ago, diabetes was virtually non-existent in the Marshall Islands.  But now, with more processed foods being imported and consumed, diabetes and its serious side effects are at an epidemic rate among the country's people.

Under the direction of Jonathon--a dedicated teacher at Assumption High School, located in Majuro, the capitol city in the Republic of the Marhall Islands--students are learning to grow gardens containing healthy vegetables.  

They are also being taught how these healthy alternatives in combination with lifestyle changes can help them prevent diabetes.


LDS Charities (the welfare arm of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Taiwanese Technical Farms (TTF) and Canvasback Wellness Center are working in concert to provide compost, top soil and seedlings for the school garden.  The community is doing their part by gathering coconut fronds which are traded with TTF for garden compost.

Lunches are prepared at school using the vegetables and it is hoped that students will take these newly learned skills and apply them in growing their own gardens.

In addition to supporting projects such as Assumption High School gardens, weekly diabetes screening clinics, education, and prevention activities are provided to families and communities where they live by the Community Lifestyle Program (CLP) led by the Canvasback Wellness Center and includes LDS Charities, College of Marshall Islands (CMI), Ministry of Health (MOH), Taiwanese Health Center and MelGov (local government).  The purpose of these screenings is to identify unknown diabetics and get them into treatment to avoid complications from this disease.

Along with diabetic screenings and lifestyle education, LDS Charities has provided 116 grow boxes with potting soil to community members.  Providing the means and expertise to teach locals how to grown their own food is proving to be a cost-saving and community building exercise.

Along with grow boxes and potting soil, project partners are providing education, seeds and seedlings with follow-up visits from TTF and Canvasback Wellness Center.

Cooking demonstrations are also a part of this innovative self-reliance project.

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