Mission:FoodPossible using local foods to fight food insecurity

Mission:FoodPossible using local foods to fight food insecurity

Observer writer

Friday, November 08, 2019

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Mission:FoodPossible (M:FP) embarked on a four-day programme, which took place in the parish of Portland between October 16-19, to train canteen workers from the institutions of Buff Bay, Skibo, Charles Town and Bybrook primary schools on the use of indigenous foods to overcome hunger and food insecurity.

Food sustainability is a global economic preoccupation and M:FP has been working to address such issues in Jamaica since 2017. The organisation embarked on a mission to teach Jamaicans more and different ways to utilise foods that are cheap and readily available. These foods are referred to as MVP (most valuable produce) by the M:FP organisation.

“To train food leaders from four primary schools in one shot and in such an impactful way was a huge success for our team,” said Mission:FoodPossible founder, Peter Ivey. “Food security is one of the most important issues facing the Caribbean region and the broader the impact, the greater our satisfaction.”

Ivey, a Jamaican chef and entrepreneur living and working in New York, is the 36-year-old owner of The Reggae Chefs, a personalised chef service that specialises in the fusion of Jamaican food and culture to promote and preserve the island's culture.

His Mission:FoodPossible foundation had previously carried out training as part of a pilot programme which began in October 2018 at St John's Primary School in St Catherine.

The mission to advance knowledge of the many different ways to maximise available food is not just about preventing or alleviating hunger, but also helping farmers to be able to sell more of their food and to avoid wastage from surplus. In the past, M:FP used excess produce for its programmes that might have otherwise gone to waste.

During the recent four-day programme in Portland, Ivey and educational consultant for M:FP, Dr Trina Lynn Yearwood, were able to present to the local community on 'Cooking Well with Foods you Know and Love' and 'The role of teachers in the fight against food insecurity'.

The lush and food-rich parish of Portland inspired a multitude of indigenous culinary creations among the M:FP trainees. The “Sunshine Medley AckLooPum”, for example, named and invented by a trainee, consisted entirely of locally sourced ingredients­­­­­­­— namely Jamaican ackee, callaloo and pumpkin.

Successful graduates received certificates of participation, and M:FP badges were awarded to seven students in recognition of their roles as ambassadors and overseers of school gardens to be used in the production of nutritional foods for their respective school meal programmes. Guests sampled food creations by the trainees and were entertained by dub poet, Randy McLaren.

The M:FP team facilitated two days of rigorous training at Buff Bay Primary School, which culminated with the graduation ceremony that was attended by family members, friends, students, educators and government officials.

Education officer in region two of the Ministry of Education, Sharon McKenzie, who was present at the ceremony, noted that “this innovative programme that combines philanthropy, training in food preparation, and public education in ways to make the best use of our local fruits and vegetables is certainly in keeping with our thrust to encourage more healthy meal preparations in our schools for students”.

Other businesses and non-profit organisations which contributed to the programme include Buff Bay Texaco, Mackies Meat Mart, the Jamaican Canadian Association Alberta (Calgary), Change the World Organization, The League of International Chefs Association (TLICA), The Reggae Chefs, Teachers Ready to Educate Advocate and Transform (TREAT) and Bresheh among others.

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