Latter-day Saint Charities helps fight Type 2 diabetes in Kiribati through garden project

Merea Aboro, a resident of the island of Tarawa in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, recently enjoyed the literal fruit of her labors — a slice of cantaloupe grown in her own family’s garden.

With the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes increasing across the Pacific, prevention has become a key humanitarian focus for the Church. Aboro’s cantaloupe represents efforts by the Church to help decrease the incidence of diabetes by offering inexpensive, healthy food options through small family and community gardens.

According to Pacific Newsroom, Latter-day Saint Charities recently partnered with the Taiwanese Technical Farms and Kiribati’s Ministry of Environment and Land and Development to educate island residents on how to grow and use nutritionally rich vegetables in self-composting, raised garden beds.

Humanitarian missionaries, Elder Jeff Brock and Sister Judy Brock, helped teach classes on how to maintain the gardens and helped to build several nurseries. Eight satellite nurseries help grow seedlings which are then distributed to local community gardeners. 

Although the garden projects were disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19, this year’s seed order, which arrived in February, was nearly double the 2020 seed order. Additional satellite nurseries are planned this year on the five outer islands of Abaiang, Marakei, Maiana, Abemama and Butaritari.