Do Roots Remain? Diet Change and Cultural Heritage in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

23rd November 2014

Pitman, HeidiThe predominance of starchy foods, particularly root vegetables, is a Pacific Islands-wide trend, with these foods being of upmost importance and forming the basis of most Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian societies. Replaced more recently, largely by sweet potato and cassava, taro was the dominant staple food in Marovo Lagoon in western Solomon Islands, up until successive taro diseases from the 1930s onward largely wiped out this crop. The people of Marovo Lagoon traditionally acquire food through a mixture of subsistence swidden agriculture and wild harvesting. Imported foods have increasingly become a part of the Marovo diet as a result of a range of external influences  such as missions, coconut plantations and logging. This poster will explore the changing diet of the people of Marovo Lagoon since European contact to the present-day. The increasing reliance on imported foods, particularly white rice, and its impact on the associated cultural heritage of food plant resources will be a focus. Do starchy root vegetables remain the main food staple in Marovo Lagoon? To what extent? How are root crops valued and viewed by Marovo people?

Citation for this poster:

Pitman, H. 2014 Do Roots Remain? Diet Change and Cultural Heritage in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Poster Presented at the AAA/ASHA Annual Conference, 1-3 December, Cairns.

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