TEITEI Taveuni's Vuna Rd branch farmers celebrated nutrition month on Monday when they converged at Vuna Village to talk about benefits of growing more healthy food.
Speaking to farmers at the celebrations, Taveuni Hospital dietitian Nazreen Bano said the number of NCD cases was increasing in Fiji and the Pacific.
"Growing your own organic fruit and vegetables is a great way to prevent illnesses such as heart disease and stroke," she said.
"Daily exercise also helps maintain a healthy body to prevent disease, and gardening is a very beneficial way to do this."
Teitei Taveuni food security and inclusive learning mentor Jo Dean said the group had been preparing a planting site for home-grown garden produce over the last month
"The area was covered with black plastic and this solarised the area, killing plants and seeds in the top soil from the heat of the sun," she said.
"We are encouraging people to grow their family food needs organically as chemicals can be harmful to human health and the environment. When the seeds were planted the group used old cardboard boxes in between rows as a mulch to prevent further weed growth."
Mrs Dean said they were encouraging people to turn to organic planting of food produce.
"We are grateful to the Ministry for Health for working with us to support both women and men farmers on Taveuni by supplying seed and expertise, and we look forward to further government-community collaboration in the future."