Sustainability by stealth

The second edition of 'Grow and Eat Your Own Food Seychelles' was launched by Minister Meriton on 9th June 2014 at the Botanica Restaurant, St. Louis, Seychelles. The book encourages Seychellois to live healthier by growing and eating their own food.

invited-guests-at-book-launchPopular demand for Nature Seychelles' innovative book Grow and Eat Your Own Food Seychelles has lead to the release of a superior second edition, three years after the first version was printed.  The book is about sowing, saucing and savoring home grown food.

"I first came across this book on the desk of a district administrator who was using it to set up a community garden," Minister for Community Development, Social Affairs and Sports, Vincent Meriton said of the book during the launch. "When I tried to get my own copy it had already gone out of print, an indication of how popular it had become."

The second edition of Grow and Eat Your Own Food Seychelles displays the copious cooking and healing chattels of endemic and rare plants, fruits and vegetables found on the islands. This version goes further to include a list of recipes from local restaurants on preparing cocktails, salads and other Seychellois dishes.

avocado-and-curry-leaf"An indelible part of our culture is our cuisine," Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange said in his speech before accepting the first copy of the book from Minister Meriton. "Creole gastronomy includes plants that may seem exotic to our European tourists: manioc, yam, taro, breadfruit, plantains, snake gourd,  and  all sorts of tropical fruits."

The soon to be opened Botanica Restaurant, and the venue of the book launch, was the perfect setting for the launch. The restaurant, which showcases traditional Creole architecture,  will be serving international cuisines with a Seychelles twist. Guests at the launch sampled some of this during the event. "I spent over a year visiting local farmers sourcing for local ingredients, and experimenting with new dishes on my friends"  Christelle Verheyden, proprietor of the Botanica confirmed to her guests.

Grow and Eat your Own food Seychelles has its roots, so to speak, at the Nature Seychelles' Heritage Garden at Roche Caiman. The garden has a wealth of plants used in traditional cuisine and medicine. "Forgotten" plants like the pom edwar can be found here.

The garden and book both act as preservers and promoters of the rich Seychellois culture while encouraging Seychellois to live healthier by growing their own food. The book provides a step a by step guide on starting, planting and caring for your own garden.

With Seychelles importing most of its produce, growing your own garden adds to food security and can be a supplementary income earner. "Food and nutrition security are essential components of resilience. Food must not only be about farms and supermarkets," says Minister Vincent Meriton.

“This is ostensibly a book on gardening but it is actually an attempt to get sustainability by stealth,” says  Dr. Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive. “ Many people turn off when NGOs talk about sustainability because they think it’s about going backwards. We think having a garden and producing  your own food is a relatively painless route to good health, fitness, and looking and feeling better. It’s also good for the pocket and the planet.”

Photos:1) Minister Meriton (L) Minister St. Ange (center) and Dr. Shah (R); 2) Some of the guests listening to a speech during the launch; 3) Avocado and curry leaf served at the launch; 4) Guests were given a copy of the book and some produce from the heritage garden as gifts 5) Dr. Shah speaking to guests after the launch

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