Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Jamaicans encouraged to ‘Tek A Fruit Instead’

Published:Wednesday | April 19, 2017 | 4:00 AMKerry Sharpe

Jamaica is a beautiful island with a plethora of exotic fruits. Living on this majestic island, one might have realised the prevalence of fruits, as the number of fruit stalls and fruit vendors has notably increased over the years. Gone are the days of only getting fruits from the supermarket or the market, as these fruit vendors have made it easier to access fruits.

This is no different on the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, as there are a number of stalls that sell fruits. Students, however, do not swarm these stalls. They have a preconceived notion that fruits are expensive and cannot satisfy their hunger.

This is one of the main reasons why six final-year students of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication decided that this issue was something that should be addressed. They launched the 'Tek a Fruit Instead' campaign, which encourages Humanities commuting students on the Mona campus to eat three to four servings of fruit per week. The team wanted students to see that having fruit is easy, convenient, affordable and beneficial to their health, both in the short and long term.

 

FRUIT APPRECIATION DAY

 

In an effort to do so, they planned and executed an event called 'Fruits Appreciation Day' held on the Mona campus in March. The day began with a sensational presentation by Nicole McLaren Campbell and Rachel Christian on the topic, 'Balancing School with a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle'. This presentation was well received, as students flocked to hear the riveting speech. Following this presentation, Ingrid Todd from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries gave a speech about 'Food Security', an issue that was of paramount importance in contemporary society.

The fun-filled day continued with prizes and surprises as excited students surrounded the tents with anticipation all afternoon. Contests were particularly the high point for the students, as they joined the banana and apple eating competition with an eagerness to win prizes branded with the 'Tek a Fruit Instead' logo. Coupled with these entertaining contests, Oh-J's Smoothies was also on location with the sale of fruits and refreshing fruit smoothies.

"Fruits Appreciation Day brought to the university students something they don't get regularly, which is a reason to eat healthy," says journalism student Dequan Thomas. "The games and competitions made us eager to consume fruits - something we wouldn't even dream of on any other day because of the cost or inconvenience, and that I believe is a win for everyone."

"It's such a wonderful feeling to see students genuinely engaged in the behaviour we are promoting," stated team member Arielle Oliver. "Our activities were successful with the help of our sponsors Hi-Lo Food Stores, Cable Pro Data Services and Victoria Mutual, as well as our partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Oh-J Smoothies."

Through their final-year campaign, the 'Tek a Fruit Instead' team members are committed to making fruits the preferred snack choice for Humanities commuting students on the Mona campus.

- Kerry Sharpe is a 'Tek a Fruit Instead' team member. Email: tekafruitinstead@gmail.com