Fiji Youth Entrepreneurs and Sustainable Food Systems for the Pacific

Funded by a consortium of New Zealand Aid and the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research (NZIPR), this research project has a unique focus: collaborating with young Pacific entrepreneurs who are passionate about vegetable and fruit eating.

Located in Fiji, the research focuses on youth experiences of the local food system and the opportunities provided by digital platforms for supporting entrepreneurship. It aims to draw on valuable business examples in Fiji and New Zealand that promote vegetable and fruit eating.

By connecting youth entrepreneurs with like-minded peers and mentors in New Zealand this will extend the conversation and contribute to a co-designed and youth-led model of vegetable and fruit eating in the Pacific.

Objectives of the research

  1. Support youth entrepreneurs in undertaking an analysis of the opportunities and barriers to developing vegetable and fruit-based enterprises, with an emphasis on their experiences and ideas and the local food system. Drawing on valuable business examples that promote healthy eating and that incorporate digital media platforms will be a key component of this analysis.The research team will also conduct a Critical Policy Review on vegetable and fruit eating and the role of youth enterprise in the context of the Pacific food system.
  2. Guide youth entrepreneurs in the co-design and implementation of 2 to 3 prototype actions of their choice through workshops and digital training, eg setting up an e-portfolio, mobile social media. These actions will take the form of either individual or combined digital stories highlighting their experiences and opinions – captured through mobile moviemaking – that are interwoven with information about healthy eating and the food industry in Fiji and the Pacific. Connecting businesses with a mentor in Fiji and/or New Zealand will be supported as part of this process.
  3. Assist youth entrepreneurs in evaluating their prototypes (such as a market garden initiative, or a website depending on youth suggested strategies) and making recommendations based on the project for fostering vegetable and fruit eating enterprises in Fiji and the Pacific. The digital dissemination of actions and outputs will benefit the wider community. We would envisage that youth will themselves express the value of healthy eating, what they like about it, what they value, and sharing that through social media.
  4. Develop a model of youth-led support for vegetable and fruit eating entrepreneurship in the Pacific. The model of youth-led support would be similar to this project; that is, based on a participatory and design thinking model. Because it is youth led, supported by those with expertise in participation, it may lend itself to different contexts in the Pacific region.

A recent policy review, published as part of the Fiji Youth Entrepreneurs study (Pacific Health, vol 3, 2020), emphasised the importance of moving from a narrow focus on eating behaviours to a sustainable food systems' model for the Pacific. Such a model must focus on supporting local agriculture and diets which exclude imported processed foods.

Find out more

You can find out more about the team and the project on the Bele.community website.

Bele.community website

Project team

  • Dr Cath Conn
  • Laurent Antonczak
  • Dr Philippa Smith
  • Dr Radilaite Cammock
  • Gloria Ofa Blake
  • Losi Sa’uLilo

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