We first visited agriculturist, cultural advocate and former political candidate Jennifer Baing-Waiko in Issue 1 of Stella back in 2012. Today, Jennifer has channelled her passion for preserving traditional food systems knowledge – for a healthy, self-determining Papua New Guinea – into ‘Café Niugini’, a fantastic new show screening Sunday nights on EmTV.
‘Café Niugini’ is taking viewers around Papua New Guinea to explore the distinctive local cuisines and food traditions of just some of the more than 800 cultural groups of this country. In addition to being a sensual feast, the program is emphasising the profound value and health benefits of more traditional cuisine.
The high prevalence of diet-related health problems across the Pacific – like obesity and diabetes – is in part due to the move away from traditional foods made from organically and locally grown ingredients, towards imported, highly processed food. This preference for unhealthy, inorganic food also disadvantages local food producers.
In creating and hosting this series, Jennifer has found a thoroughly entertaining way to bring her advocacy for sustainable living – and a self-determining, self-confident Papua New Guinea – before a national audience. And the take away message is simple: preserve and embrace our delicious local food cultures!
Your body, local farmers, and future generations will thank you for it.
‘Café Niugini screens Sunday nights at 6.30pm on EmTV.
Take a look at a preview of Café Niugini’s Western Highlands province episode here.
WORDS by Pauline Vetuna.
Photo: Jennifer Baing-Waiko holds a dish of Tama Tama from Bougainville.
(Photo credit: Cafe Niugini)