Barbadians prefer to eat junk

We are a society that has become reliant on government for everything under the sun. While the government cannot be excused from its governance responsibilities, a civil society by definition is “considered as a community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity“.

What is wrong with as many households as possible prioritizing kitchen gardens in pots, pans, replace lawns etc. Instead, we have allowed ourselves to become intoxicated with the easy lifestyle of sourcing too many food items from the shelves of a retail outlet whether local or international, Chefette, KFC and several others spring to mind.

Credit to Bentley
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We are being poisoned with our processed, high sugar, nutrient poor foods

Submitted by Green Monkey

In this recent video Russel Brand explores with US food activist Calley Means the disastrous declining state of US citizens’ health which Calley relates to a diet that is increasingly taken over by highly processed food devoid of nutritional value and high in sugar while both children and adults both get less physical activity in their daily lives than their ancestors did.  Calley explains that the declining health of its citizenry is making the US a nation in decline with an increasingly uncompetitive, out of shape workforce suffering an overabundance of non-communicable, degenerative diseases, and falling fertility rates along with increasing psychological and psychiatric problems and skyrocketing medical costs. 

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Are Barbadians Buying Contaminated Food?

In our system of government (sog) officials elected to parliament are expected to put the interest of the people ahead of their own. In fact the (sog) places a premium on those offering themselves to public office, not dissimilar to the calling of a priest who is expected to facilitate members of the public getting closer to the Most High. In other words, it is not a 9 to 5 job, it is a ‘calling’.

There has been a lot written in recent years about rising apathy and cynicism by the public directed at the political class and government institutions, Barbados is no different. We can cite comments from the Auditor General, note the precarious state of the National Insurance Scheme or if we want to go big – the ease with which successive governments have borrowed massively instead of implementing initiatives to facilitate adequately earning our way in the world.

It is important for members of the public to be able to develop trust in public officials. Take for example the issue of food standards. The average citizen enters a supermarket or any similar outlet to purchase food items with an understanding standards are being met to protect health standards. In Barbados the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI) is the agency with primary responsibility. The reference to BNSI should not be misconstrued as accusing the institution of not delivering on its mandate although the blogmaster is not in a position to know.

The objectives of the BNSI are to facilitate trade and the international competitiveness of Barbadian goods and services, the protection of consumers and the harmonious development of the sectors of the economy, through the development of standards, revision and amendment of these standards from time to time, testing of products for conformity to these standards, certification of products to national standards, accreditation to ensure that those who carry out testing, certification and inspection are competent to do so and calibration of measures (including mass, volume, temperature, length).


A survey of markets in countries more developed than Barbados and with active consumer organizations suggest that Barbadians should be very concerned about the quality of food items being sold to the public.

Two videos sent by Alien to BU with a focus on bottled water and meats are a must watch. Believe it or not this is an expose from Canada and not a third world country. Where can Barbadians turn for comfort that health standards are being monitored?

This is about the quality of water.
This is about meat.

Treat Your Body Like a Temple

A timely reminder from long time BU family member Bentley that it is important to make sensible decisions about our diet.

Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian population

Assuming the rights to health and healthy food as general assumptions, the Guide is an official document that addresses the principles and recommendations of a healthy diet for the Brazilian population, representing a tool to support food and nutrition educational activities in SUS and also in other sectors. Considering the multiple determinants of feeding practices and the complexity and challenges that are involved in the shaping of current food systems, the Food Guide reinforces the commitment of the Ministry of Health to contribute to the development of strategies for the promotion and realization of the human right to adequate food.

Ministry of Health of Brazil

A ‘Glocal’ Food Crisis

Submitted by Steven Kaszab

Wheat prices have tumbled from its peak when Russia had invaded the Ukraine, but one of the worlds most consumed items remains in short supply and that the global hunger crisis still remains. Much like oil, steel and beef, wheat shifts its price and availability in response to many complex factors such as geopolitics and the weather. Declining prices of wheat creates a challenge to our economies, one where low prices of wheat may not incentivise farmers to plant more wheat, thereby creating more scarcity of this product and its many off take products. A lower price for wheat does not deal with the ever increasing cost of energy, which affects the cost of running farm equipment, transportation and even the manufacturing  of needed fertilisers.  Hot, dry weather is also crimping the farmers style of crop growth. Our global economy is facing a potential situation where food prices could spiral out of control. 

Russia and the Ukraine account for 1/4 of global wheat exports. That is what war has affected. A man made crisis that may go into the long term. Adding global drought episodes and we are facing a combination of scarcity, corporate profiteering and ultimately food price gouging like not seen before. Wheat prices are at a level seen before the year began.  @ $7.75 per bushel jumped to over $13.00 right after Russia invaded Ukraine. The price stayed in double digit’s through this June and then began to fall to a $8.00 a bushel level. Winter Wheat stocks also brought the price down and a deal between Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations has allowed some wheat to ship to international markets. 

The cost of wheat and many other foods have been affected by the war between Russia and Ukraine, but the real factors that will affect the price of bread, cereal and other items will be climate change, the price of fuel and fertiliser.  Climate change is making crop growth highly unpredictable. Lack of rain, drought level micro climates and over harvesting of single crop items are limiting what can be grown and harvested each year. In Canada temperatures soared to record highs, making three fourths of the country’s 2021 agricultural land  abnormally dry. Canada’s wheat crop dropped to nearly 40% from 2020 to 2021, causing its exports to Latin America to decline by over three million tons.  Also, in 2020 wheat was about 30% cheaper then it is now. 

Because Russian fertiliser is so important to the global farm trade, it avoided international sanctions. Although high prices hurt countries that import wheat, low prices might dissuade farmers from planting extra crops this year. Over the past decade the number of farms closing production has increased. Family farms are becoming less and less, while corporate farms of thousands of acres specialise in the most profitable of crops, often no those crops that feed the nation. 

Like the stock exchange, food prices are on the move up and down, making money for some, and costing money for others. Whether the costs are artificially kept high, or there really is no controlling our food stuffs costs, the end consumer is in for a roller coaster ride, and their pocket books need to look out.

Cost of Living Matter (2) – A Time to Remain Unborn

Some ‘insane’ Barbadians are asking the question again – is the standard of living we have become accustomed tosustainable. Is it sensible for us `a net importer and purchaser of foreign currency to promote and implement policies that guarantee we must BORROW billions in foreign and local dollars to fund the short fall not covered from taxes collected in the case of domestic and foreign earnings?

Many years ago, ironically at the tail end of the last economic boom which Barbados never recovered, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur warned Barbadians about dark clouds on the horizon and the urgent need to make adjustments. To be expected we continued to engage in immature partisan political ranting as the walls of our society cracked are now tumbling around us.

We are a tiny island with zilch natural resources having to depend mainly on the fickle invisible export of tourism to generate foreign exchange to pay for our conspicuous consumption habits. We continue to build oversized homes, purchase fossil burning expensive SUVs, travel to distant lands to fulfil manufactured aspirations , aspire to study at elite universities, select exotic foods from supermarket shelves, the benefits sold to us on foreign cable beamed into our homes 24/7. To any sensible and educated person the dinosauric economic model could not and does not sustain the level of expenditure we have to incur. There is a good reason why Barbados’ economy has been described as open and susceptible to what economists fondly refer to as exogenous shocks.

On top of the obvious challenge of managing a minuscule 6-8 billion dollar economy largely dependent on a fickle tourism product, there is sufficient evidence – see Auditor General Reports outlining a litany of public sector malfeasance (private sector is always complicit) AND corruption to conclude we make a challenging situation more difficult. With revelations coming out of the arrest of former government minister Donville Inniss et al, there is evidence a culture exist that feeds corrupt behaviour. Although not a unique circumstance to Barbados, Barbadians must hold ourselves accountable for the kind of country we want to build for our children.

Many in this space lived through the 2007/8 global crisis and the oil crisis of the 70s. It is evident from the experiences of the two episodes we have not learned enough to commit to implementing resilient ‘fit for purpose’ policies. WE have allowed ourselves to buy into the ‘good life’ of consumption fuelled by an economy built on beach ground. Even in the face of the obvious, we have to listen daily to bull pucky discussions designed to take us no where. Unfortunately with the multiplicity of agendas to satisfy, with social media a ready purveyor of the inane the blame culture has taken deep root.

It is 2022, according to establishment analysts were are on the precipice of another global recession, one that should it occur given our fragile open economy will again wreak havoc on the lives of Barbadians, decimating a debt ridden middleclass and moving the poverty line north. Our visionless leaders combined with a level of disengagement from Barbadians – who the blogmaster has always contended ceded entitlements under our democracy to the political class – will have to suffer again for it until we learn to do better. The reference to a people getting governments they deserve has been recorded countless times in this space.

To the immediate matter at hand summarised in the article shared by a BU family member:

Rising food prices are changing the way we eat and shop

Emily Peck Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios Visuals

Skyrocketing food prices in the U.S. are changing the way Americans eat and grocery shop — they’re buying more store brands, and less costly meat and produce. Some are now just making do with less.

  • Meanwhile, food manufacturers continue to “shrinkflate” — putting less potato chips or cereal in the bags and boxes that we buy.

Why it matters: This is inflation hitting home, contributing to the overall bummed-out mood of the nation.

  • Once upon a time, grocery shopping mainly fell to women, but these days 92% of adults do it. That means most everyone’s noticed rising food prices — and many have adjusted in ways both minor and potentially devastating.

Driving the news: The cost of “food at home” is up 11.9% from last year, the largest increase since April 1979, according to the scorching hot inflation numbers released Friday. Nearly every category of food the government tracks saw accelerating price growth. The most inflationary categories, as highlighted in a note from JPMorgan on Friday:

  • Egg prices up 32% year over year, thanks in part to a January bird flu outbreak that killed about 6% of commercial egg-laying chickens, as Axios’ Hope King explained last month.
  • Fats and oils were next on the list at 16.9%, partly due to the war in Ukraine, followed by poultry (16.6%) and milk (15.9%).

Unusual trend: The increases in prices for food at home are outpacing food-away-from-home, which is up *only* 7.4%.

  • This is “historically unusual,”JP Morgan notes. The growth differential is the widest since 1974, they said.

State of play: For a good snapshot of how rising food prices are changing behavior, we checked the most recent Beige Book — where the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks report on economic conditions in their area (h/t Planet Money’s Indicator podcast on this one):

Read full article

Is a Global Food Shortage Coming?

Submitted by Melissa Martin, Ph.D. – author, columnist, educator living in the USA

Rumblings around the globe are predicting a food shortage, but can the citizens believe the power-driven politicians and the lying leaders? Even leaders of sovereign nations are known to manipulate and spew falsehoods. Why? Because they can – especially when the mainstream media is in their back pocket and their front pocket.  

Is it more a matter of supply chain issues, inflation and the cost of food products, ongoing effects from the coronavirus pandemic, or the recent war between Russia and the Ukraine?  

It depends on what the controlling globalists want you to believe. It depends on what the leaders of the Great Reset (aka New World Order) pass on to mainstream media for headlines. Don’t bother reading USA Today, the New York Times, or the Washington Post. Don’t bother watching CNN or MSNBC. And the owner of FOX limits information.  

Watch the documentary “Monopoly, Who Owns the World?” by Tim Gielen and find out what companies own what mainstream media news outlets: television, newspapers, magazines, websites. Find out what companies own the food factories. Peruse the shareholders – Blackrock and Vanguard are major players.  

“President Biden on Thursday warned of global food shortages as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine — predicting that the war would upend global wheat supplies,” according to a March 24, 2022 article in the New York Post. But President of the U.S. Biden is onboard with the New World Order as he recently stated. 

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian organization. The WFP is governed by the WFP Executive Board, which consists of 36 Member States and provides intergovernmental support, direction and supervision of WFP’s activities.  

The United Nations signed a contract with Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum. So, the UN is onboard with the New World Order. “You will own nothing and you’ll be happy,” says Schwab. Bill Gates is pushing humans to eat plant-based diets, synthetic meats, and bugs. Trusting the members of the New World Order is like allowing a weasel into the henhouse.  

Read the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It rings with utopian bliss. The UN rhetoric reads like a savior that is coming to save the planet and humanity. But a false savior has to first create a false problem – so they can ride in to save the day with a false solution.  

In other words, the United Nations will ask/request/demand that all citizens of all nations give up all money, property, and possessions for the sake of feeding humanity. It’s called global communism. Say farewell to freedom, democracy, and liberty. While the elites at the top of the pyramid wine and dine – the servants at the bottom obey orders. 

“14 ways to PREPARE for food shortages around the world,” is a 2022 article by Glenn Beck.  


Citizens, as you stock up on canned food and staples, buy some extra to share with your neighbors – if and when, a food shortage arrives. 

Achieving Food Security a Transitory Inconvenience

A country distracted by the pandemic and rightly so, compounded by a snap general election. As if a general election called during a pandemic and all that it ensues wasn’t enough there is the fallout from another 30-0 defeat for all comers. 

To coin a popular phrase used by a former prime minister who presided during the glorious years- the pandemic and current post general elections are merely transitory inconveniences. With the recent ease in COVID 19 protocols the time has come for the underlying issues that effect how we mange our lives to revert to the front burner of focus.

Can you guess what is one of the underlying issues that should concern us? If you cannot watch the video.

T&T Farm

Import it First Attitude!

It is often bandied about the ministry of agriculture (MOA) has more employees with PhDs than most places. However, if you try to plot a correlation between national agriculture output and number of post grad certifications in the MOA, there is a negligible positive. 

The late prime minister Owen Arthur warned Barbadians of storm clouds on the horizon and that Bajans should take interest in backyard farming, he was ridiculed- the matter was consumed by the usual political diatribe. The same occurred when the late David Thompson promoted a slogan of ‘crime and violence. It is ironic looking back that two prime ministers of Barbados were unable – although lead policymakers – were unable to change irrelevant behaviour in our people.

Despite three years into the term of the incumbent government and two years into a pandemic – have we seen enough activity in the agriculture sector given the urgency of now? The answer is NO!

Many times we visit restaurants and ask the question, do you have sweet potato to replace english potato, do you have natural juices to replace artificially flavoured etc, too many times the answer is NO!

What is the purpose of the social partnership if during a period of economic hardship stakeholders are unable to see the benefit of vertical integration approaches in the domestic marketplace?

The following video was shared by Bentley, long time BU contributor.


Grenville Phillips Speaks: Difficult Conversations – Eating Meating

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean is predicting a 40% unemployment rate in Barbados in December 2020. To survive, many may need to learn how to make money stretch.

Every evening, I eat a delightfully healthy, nutritious, and well satisfying meal with my family. I cook this meal myself, and each forkful brings me immense pleasure. At the end of the meal, my taste-buds were well-activated and my belly is full.

While some fine dining (big-plate small-food) restaurants may charge me over $100 per meal to artificially activate my taste-buds, my home-dinner normally costs $1.20 per plate, and does the same thing naturally. Yes, one dollar and twenty cents. Let me show you how.

First, I stopped eating the corpses of dead animals few years ago; neither fish, fowl, nor beast of the field. This saves me about $75 each month per plate. If four persons in a household eat meat, then that costs about $300 per month per plate on meat alone. I get my proteins from lentil peas. The ingredients follow.

I buy one bag of Camellia lentil peas for $4.62 including VAT. The ‘local’ brands, which are a lot cheaper, simply package imported peas, but do not state the source. That is against the laws of Barbados. I complained to the authorities, but no one seems to care.

I buy a 2-lb bag of Uncle Ben’s whole grain (brown) rice for $12.39. Again, the ‘local’ brands are a lot cheaper, but I do not support lawbreakers. Is the source country using child, enslaved, or prison labour? I care about such matters.
I buy a can of non-genetically modified (Non GMO) corn for $3.50. I can purchase genetically modified corn for less, but I care about what I eat. I buy Premium Bajan Seasoning with no Monosodium glutamate (MSG) for $4.99. If I can find Went Work’s seasoning, I but that instead. I also buy ginger ($0.85), garlic ($0.39), two medium sized onions ($0.96), and four large carrots ($3.85).

So, here is the recipe, which takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. I pour the bag of lentils and half of the bag of rice in a container, and rinse them. Then I put the rinsed contents in a large pot, with the same volume of water.
While the peas and rice are soaking, I cut up the two onions (in fine pieces), one-third of the ginger (large so they can be removed later), and two cloves of garlic (fine), and add them to the pot. I also put in a tablespoon of the seasoning, a teaspoon of sea-salt, and a sprinkle of ground cayenne pepper.

I then turn on the heat to high, and stir the mixture until all of the ingredients are mixed. Once the water starts boiling, I turn it to low, cover the pot while leaving a small gap, and let it simmer for 15 minutes (I use a timer).
While it is simmering, I cut up two large carrots (1/2 lb), and rinse the carrots and the can of corn. After 15 minutes of simmering, a little water should be in the bottom of the pot. I mix in the carrots and the corn and let it simmer for two minutes before turning off the heat. What is not eaten is portioned in containers and frozen for later use.

The cost of the high-priced ingredients used in the pot was $18. The pot holds 15 plates of food. Therefore, each plate costs $1.20. If I bought the cheapest rice, peas, corn, and seasoning, then each plate would cost about $0.85.
I can enhance each plate with one third of a chopped apple, so that each fork-full has a piece. That brings the total cost to $1.40 (or $1.05 using the cheaper foods). So, what do I do with the savings I make for eating in this manner? I buy meats for my family.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at

Understanding Food and the Ecology

For those who love to read here is a book IN DEFENSE OF FOOD – Thank you Bentley.

Here is another topic Barbadians delight in giving lip service. We have reached a point where we do not intend to attack the serious issue of food security. Equally important is that we do not use our intelligence and formal education to understand how different foods we consume affect our health.

We express horror at the rising numbers of NCDs in Barbados. However the authorities hail the expansion of the Burger Kings, Chefettes and other fast foods outlets as an economic boon. We glamorize the convenience of eating ‘junk food’ because it is the right of the individual to eat as they please, YET, taxpayers will have to pick up the tab when the national health budget is allocated.

Go figure!

Expect to read the usual empty headed nonsense by a few who like a broken lock will opine –

Blame the BLP!

Blame the DLP!

Blame the White man!

Blame the man in the mirror?

Minister Sutherland @Shopsmart Notsmart

The Editor


Barbados Underground

Bridgetown, Barbados

West Indies

Dear Sir/Madam,

There was an article in the Daily Nation of the 20th.December 2018 captioned Sutherland calls for sanitary lab. The article alluded to the fact that “Shop Smart” seemed to be having problems over the amount of money it was losing when food products had the Best Before Date (BBD) embossed either on canned or film-packed foods. Minister Sutherland alluded to the fact that money could be saved if the products basically,were tested to determine their wholesomeness after the BBD. He also mentioned in paragraph six that :”the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, (DCCA)… we can’t carry that because we may engage in the risk of harming people………..”

All I could do was laugh. Is it not the function of the Supermarket to ensure that products stocked and their movement through the facility are monitored, to facilitate savings? Obviously, products with short moving times should be purchases in larger amounts than those with longer moving times. Surely this is not the job for Minister Sutherland, as was clearly seen in the awkwardness with which he addressed the topic. Surely this a management problem which the management Shop Smart must address. Some Supermarkets have shelves devoted (Popular Discount and Cherish to name a few) to BBD products. The price of the items are reduced and the consumer buys them.

It is also quite obvious that the DCCA does not seem to have a clue about what tests would have to be done to achieved the goals stated by Minister Sutherland. As a matter of fact one must ask oneself if there are persons trained in food science in DCCA.

In 2000, there was a letter published in the Barbados Advocate on the first of November under the caption: “Not such an easy matter” by me; part of which I now reproduce:

The following comments are made from an educational and consumer aspect…….since it is evident that …..needs more exposure in the area of food science and the quality characteristics associated with stored food products. To illustrate what Iam talking about,I will deal with a box of cornflakes. In the fresh state the consumer expects the product to have the following kinesthetics or textural characteristics: crunchiness when chewed in the absence of milk;brittleness when bitten and mashiness when mixed with saliva in the mouth. These characteristics all come under the heading of mouth-feel and are taught as part of the undergraduate program in food science…..Storage test at room temperature and accelerated storage tests at elevated temperatures are conducted to determine the length of time over which the stored food products retain premium quality status.Chemical analyses to determine the levels of ash,sugars,vitamins….Analysis of the head space in canned and film-packed foods are also done to determine if there is any change in flavor or odor and a BBD is then issued. Cornflakes are packed in an inner barrier of wax paper,which is enclosed in a cardboard box. The inner wax barrier reduces the rate at which moisture and oxygen diffuse from the surroundings,through the cardboard and into contact with the flakes themselves.Over a period of time,diffusion of moisture and oxygen affect the texture of the stored flakes which become soft.The consumer will not buy such a product. It is therefore pointless to talk about extending BBD of cornflakes. In the case of canned food products, simple observation of the shape of the can tells one whether or not the contents are wholesome. Whole chapters of food science books under thermal processing of canned foods are devoted to this. In any event, extending BBD means that the nutritional values would have to be checked and since Barbados places no stress on the scientific capabilities (apart from computer science) of its nationals, there is a slim chance of nutritional assessment being done,since a very high level technical ability is needed to do so. I have not addressed perishables (meats, fish and fruits) for self-evident reasons.

Minister Sutherland would better serve the country by dealing with food fraud instead. In a letter to the Barbados Advocate of the 18th. November 2000,captioned : “Food fraud a global occurrence” I outlined the adverse effects of such fraud: from the mixing of red lead to paprika; the addition of mineral oils to olive oils, to the fake antibiotics that cause an increase in antibiotic resistance; changing of labels ,expiry dates and BBD are all par for the course with food fraud. Advanced countries have their hands full dealing with food fraud.

Robert D. Lucas,PH.D.

Certified food scientist (CFS)

Dr. Lucas Responds to Peter Webster’s Deleterious Effect of Seaweed on Soils Piece

Submitted by Robert D. Lucas, Ph.D. and CFS, Certified Food Scientist


[Barbados Underground]

The Editor

Barbados Underground

Bridgetown, Barbados

West Indies

Dear Sir/Madam,

There was an article in the Nation of 26th July entitled “How to handle sargassum” by Mr. Peter Webster. Webster in paragraph one seems to have a problem with “however, if large concentrations of sodium salts are added to the soil.’In paragraph two he cites some work done in Portugal that indicates sargassum “has a strong potential as functional food ingredient.” These comments of Webster are now dealt with.

All sodium salts are soluble and there is therefore a tendency for these salts to be leached downward. In periods of drought, sodium salts rise by capillary action to the surface of the soil. It ought to be obvious that with the repeated addition of seaweed to the soil, there will be an accumulation of sodium in the soil profile; that under dry conditions can rise by capillary action and affect both the salinity and sodic nature of the soil. Is Webster suggesting that the sargassum is only going to be applied once to the soil? Webster conveniently ignored the fact that in paragraph two of my article it is stated “the deleterious effects described by Hunte…can be attributed to the ..development over time of soils that are saline-sodic.” Webster makes an issue of the ratio of potassium (K) to sodium (Na) in the living seaweed In any event K:Na in the living seaweed has nothing to do with what happens when seaweeds are decomposed by microbial action in the soil. As previously stated, since K has a greater ionic volume/radii than Na, it is adsorbed before Na.

I have addressed the uses of seaweeds in food in my article of 14th July in your on-line paper.


Robert D. Lucas,Ph.D. and CFS.

Certified Food Scientist.

What to do with Sargassum

Submitted by Robert D. Lucas,Ph.D. and CFS, Certified Food Scientist

The Editor

Barbados Underground

Bridgetown, Barbados

West Indies

Dear Sir/Madam,

The following is an overview of the uses of seaweed in the food industry. Suggestions are also proposed for prospective uses of the product.

Seaweeds belong to a group commonly called macro-algae or  hydrocolloids in the food industry. The  latter name derives from the propensity of the substances to form viscous dispersions and or gels when dispersed in water  (colloidal sols) and from the extensive hydroxyl groups with which the substances can form attachments with water molecules.. Hydrocolloids are a heterogeneous group of long chain polymers (polysaccharides{sugars} and proteins). Some of the amino acids in the protein chain contain sulfur (for example; methionine). These are broken down by sulfur using bacteria into hydrogen sulfide and other noxious substances. Hydrocolloids are widely used in the food industry because of their ability to modify the rheology of food systems This include two basic properties of food systems namely, flow behavior (viscosity) and mechanical solid (texture)property (Saha,D.and Bhattacharya,S.(2010) “Hydrocolloids as thickening and gelling agents in food: a critical review.” J. Food Sci.Technol. 47:6: 587-597.).

According to McHugh. J.D. 2003. “A Guide to the Seaweed Industry.” FAO. Fisheries Technical Paper #44:: “The seaweed industry provides a wide variety of products that have an estimated total annual value of US$ 5.5-6 billion. Food products for human consumption contribute about US$ 5 billion of this. Substances that are extracted from seaweeds -hydrocolloids – account for a large part of the remaining billion dollars, while smaller, miscellaneous uses, such as fertilizers and animal feed additives,  cosmetics and the manufacture of paper make up the rest.”

Hydrocolloids fall under the heading of functional food additives,. They are widely used in many food formulations to improve quality attributes and shelf-life. The two main uses are as thickening and gelling agents. As thickening agents, they find uses in soups, gravies, salad dressings, sauces and toppings while as gelling agents, they are extensively used in products like jam, jelly, marmalade, restructured foods and low sugar/calorie gels (Saha and Bhattacharya. 2010).

Seaweeds are classified in commerce according to pigmentation as: red(used for agar and carrageenan in the food and microbiology) and  brown or green. Sargassum seaweeds (SW) are brown. Brown seaweeds are used for the manufacture of aginlates for the food industry. Apart from being thickeners, alginates have some applications that are not related to either their viscosity or gel properties. They act as stabilizers in ice cream; addition of alginates reduce the formation of ice crystals during freezing, giving a smooth product  Alginate gels are used in re-structured or re-formed food products. For example, re-structured meats can be made by taking meat pieces, binding them together and shaping them to resemble usual cuts of meat, such as nuggets, roasts, meat loaves, even steaks.They are also used in the controlled release of medicinal drugs and other chemicals. In some applications, the active ingredient is placed in a calcium alginate bead and slowly released as the bead is exposed in the appropriate environment.

Available information on Sargassum natans and fluitans, the two species of primary concern across the Caribbean, is sparse (Michelle Morrison, CPI and Daniel Gray. The Caribbean Council,  Anaerobic Digestion Economic Feasibility Study: Generating energy from waste, sewage and Sargassum Seaweed in the OECS :CPI Report Number: CPI-SP-RP-141(31/01/2017).It was also concluded that it was not economically feasible to generate bio-gas using anaerobic digestion since SW have low biochemical methane potentials (BMP). Anaerobiosis using pure culture techniques were apparently not used. Using pure culture techniques one can swamp the indigeneous microflora of the substrate with the microflora of choice, thereby controlling the rate of the process using continuous anaerobiosis (by using pure cultures other organisms that can divert the production of methane are effectively inhibited. Must also be noted that the carbohydrate content of seaweed as a substrate varies during the course of the season. According to Lenstra and others (.2011).Ocean Seaweed Biomass For large scale bio-fuel production Energy Research Center,Netherlands (ECN) S. natans has the following chemical composition :on a dry weight basis(dw) Proteins;6.59%; Fat 0.54%;Carbohydrate 76.43%; Phosphorus  0.082; Potassium19.56%; Energy (kJ/100g dry matter) 1410.

SW structurely consists of linear polysaccharides made up of 25-30 glucose units linked by(beta) b 1-3 glycosidic bonds. In some cases b1-6 glycosidic bonds occur. Since the cell wall of SW contains cellulose. the biomass must be pretreated and  then (1) treated with (hydrolyzed ) cellulase enzyme systems supplemented with β-glucosidase followed by(2) fermentation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae(yeasts). Having stage(1)immediately followed by stage (2), result in what is known as a two-stage process which is economically more expensive. It is better to have stage (1) and (2) operating simultaneous, using continuous fermentation in the production of alcohol This can be done by the use of immobilized enzyme technology. In immobilized enzymes, the enzymes are enmeshed in a membrane (made of aginlate) which facilitates the reuse of the enzymes reducing costs and increasing reaction efficiencies.

SW can be used as an animal feed for ruminants only at present, since poultry do not have the necessary enzyme systems required to handle b glycosidic links. Feed from SW, has a low protein content  when compared to soy. To augment the protein content, SW can be used as a substrate for the production of single cell protein. Using continuous fermentation techniques, protein yields as high as 40% on a  dry-weight basis can be obtained. Single cell protein can be used in the formulation of non-ruminant rations as I having been advocating for more than twenty years (letters to the Editor, Barbados Advocate). Thinking long term, the gene for the beta glycoside using gene editing techniques can be inserted into a bacterium found normally in the gut microflora of non-ruminants. The edited bacterium with the added gene can then be reinserted into the gut microflora of the non-ruminant by incorporating it into the rations.. The non-ruminant is now able to utilize feeds made from SW.  Alternatively, SW itself can be gene edited and the gene for the  b condition changed to the a state, making it possible to have feed that can be utilized by both ruminants and non-ruminants directly.

Brown macroalgae, Sargassum ssp., are considered as a potential biomass source for energy production due to their relatively fast growth rates, ease of harvesting, and low pre-production cost. Sargassum fluitans, S. natans, and S. filipendula are three of the most abundant macroalgae species found at Puerto Rico’s coasts. The lipids content of Sargassum spp. ranges between 1.0 and 2.5% (total lipids)Diaz-Vazquez and others (2015) “Demineralization of Sargassum spp. macroalgae biomass: selective hydrothermal liquefaction process for bio-oil production.”Front.Energy Res. 3:6..

If the temperature and pressure  of carbon dioxide are both increased  to be at or above its critical point ,it can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid. More specifically, it behaves as a super critical fluid above its critical temperature 31.10 °C, (87.98 °F) and critical pressure of 72.9 atm, (7.39 MPa, 1,071 psi), expanding to fill its container like a gas but with a density like that of a liquid. Under these conditions carbon dioxide(CO2) acts as a solvent and removes fats/oils from a product. It is commonly used in the food industry in the manufacture of decaffeinated coffee. This method can be used to extract oil from SW without the residual harmful effects of the use of hexane, the solvent currently in  wide spread use.

SW is prevalent throughout the earth’s oceans. There has been a lot of noise locally about how to handle the problem. As far as I am concerned, there is no reason why the approach used in the fishing industry should not be adopted. With the use of drones and appropriate algorithms or biosensors one can easily detect the position of SW. Using algorithms, the difference in color of the ocean where the SW is versus where it is absent can be used to pinpoint the product. Alternatively, since S.natans has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen( by an associated epiphyte or cyanobacteria), a build up of or a depletion of nitrates can be used to detect SW, since the background levels in the ocean will be different. Similarly,the same should hold good for carbon dioxide(CO2) which is utilized during photosynthesis. Finally, there should be a temperature differential, due to the metabolic processes underway in the developing SW and the ocean’s background temperatures.  Lenstra and others (.2011) have outlined measures for fishing and harvesting SW. Recently a Caribbean country purchased two seaweed harvesters. So, instead of waiting for SW to come to Barbados, Barbados should go hunting for it.


Robert D. Lucas,Ph.D. and CFS

Certified Food Scientist.

City of Bridgetown Upbraided!

A City of Bridgetown member expresses disgust!

I’m informing you to the fact that I take offense to your ad on health and nutrition in Barbados Today page 4. This ad features photos of blueberries and strawberries. These fruits are extra-regional while we have local fruits such as Avocado, Soursop, Bajan Cherry etc which are just as if not more nutritious than any fruit from outside the region. Why couldn’t these form part of the promotion? This is but one of the reasons why we cannot get our people to eat locally produced food and why our food import bill is sky high (in excess of $600 million). You need to be more responsible in the future.

The Adrian Loveridge Column – More Local Food

Adrian Loveridge

When I hear various vested interests lobby for the greater use of our tourism sector using more locally made and available product, I am a hundred percent behind this concept, but after almost three decades pursuing this ideal, I have to admit that it is not easy as it is made to sound.

It should not take five telephone calls, emails and Facebook messages and over week later still not possible to extract a wholesale price list. With a few notable exceptions many local companies do not even have or maintain a user friendly website and/or allow online orders and payments. Even when they do, so often you place an order, which sometimes is acknowledged and when the goods are not delivered in a timely manner, you chase and are told that the supplier is out or stock.

With so much speculation about the fragility of our economy and the frequent discussion about the possibility of devaluation, I would have thought that our local manufacturers and distributors would have gone into hyperdrive to fully exploit the increase in visitor arrival numbers and dramatically update their way of conducting business.

What also appears to frequently happen, is that companies will place what can only been deemed as expensive ‘ads’ either in the printed or online media and then when potential buyers respond through the email addresses shown, nothing further is heard.

We all understand the challenges of living on a small island, the time it takes to clear customs and the uncertainty of holding predictable sufficient stocks and supplies, but there has to be a better way.

While a direct comparison with giants like the online logistical trader, Amazon, is perhaps unfair, there must be room somewhere in-between to help minimise the time it takes to source, order and receive more locally made products. There is really no plausible excuse because we have the young tech savvy people on our doorstep to make it happen.

Frankly I shudder at the thought of devaluation and the devastating effect that it could have on our tourism sector. With a largely import dependent economy, it would make an already perceived expensive destination beyond reach for people in many of our markets. Perhaps the only saving grace would be to maintain and deposit our accommodation prices in US Dollars to offset inevitable higher operational and consumable costs.

But my guess this would only greatly increase what is already an alarming practice of collecting and processing payment offshore thereby further reducing Government revenue collection, notably VAT and corporation tax.

It must be clear that this has led to the disparity of higher arrival numbers and reduced on-island spending.

Our already nervous banks must realise that tourism and its ability to generate and maintain inflows of foreign exchange is the only possible way of eventually extracting ourselves out of the current fiscal malaise.

Alienating the Junk Food Industry

The Barbados Advocate editorial of yesterday addressed a controversial position taken by Dr. Trevor Hassell regarding the addiction of our people to junk food especially the youth. What are the whys and wherefores we need to debate to save the health our people?
– Barbados Underground

trevorhassellAs much as we understand the authenticity of his call and, indeed, largely sympathise with it, we fear that Sir Trevor Hassell is in for the fight of his life if he hopes, as he urged recently, for “an end to the promotion and advertising of junk foods in schools and an end to junk food sponsorship and support for school activities as well as family and sporting events in this country.” Sir Trevor made these comments at a recent symposium attended by senior students and teachers of the nation’s leading secondary schools. As reported in the Barbados Advocate of last Sunday under the banner headline “Ban Them”, he urged that the marketing and promotion in schools and the consumption of energy-dense nutrient-poor products, sugar sweetened beverages and fast food to school children interfere with the formation of healthy dietary habits. There ought not to be substantial public dissent to this view.

However, any purported ban of these products is likely to face stiff opposition on more fronts than one. The purveyors of these products will query their corporate right to commercial enterprise within our economic system; some citizens will bristle at this purported infringement of their natural civic right and autonomy to consume any product so long as its ingestion is not previously prohibited by law; and, doubtless, there will be some who will blame their current economic misfortune for their unhealthy mode of consumption, even though any credible empirical analysis is likely to reveal that fast food is more expensive than a healthy diet, certainly per unit of nutrition and provided one is prepared to take the time to locate these items.

This debate is by no means a new one. When, more than two years ago, New York City attempted to place limits on the sales of jumbo sugary sodas or sweet drinks as we would have it, this initiative was struck down by the state’s highest court on the ground that the state’s health officials had exceeded the scope of their regulatory authority and that its complexity and reach into the everyday lives of millions made it a fit subject for regulation by the city government itself.

Commenting on the ruling in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Amy Fairchild observed, ‘…the ban is not about attacking individual choice but rather about limiting damage. If we see supersize drinks not in terms of the individual’s freedom to be foolish but instead as a kind of pollution that is super-concentrated in impoverished neighbourhoods, limits on drink size become a far different regulatory measure”.

We concede too that Sir Trevor’s proposal will depend significantly on the political will of the governing administration to implement it at a policy level. Given its struggles on the economic front and the minor electoral advantage, if any at all, to be gained from the implementation of the guideline, this much ids doubtful.

It remains though, in our opinion, a veritable catch-22. It is almost inarguable that these eating habits contribute massively to the near pandemic of chronic non-communicable diseases in our nation, a pandemic that draws greatly on our scarce resources for healthcare. The equation would seem simple enough, but then the state regulation personal choice is not all easy.

Continental Foods and Bhana, the Chicken Wings and Expired Labels Affair

Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss

Minister Donville Inniss

Recently a shipment of chicken wings was destroyed by the Ministry of Commerce after it was discovered it landed on the island illegally. What concerns the BU household is the response from several Bajans who were quick to cry fowl to the decision to incinerate the wings. Why? Bajans love their wings, what a waste of good wings they cried!

How was Bhana located at Cave Hill given permission to land the chicken wing shipment in Barbados? How long has Continental Foods been scrubbing labels?

Aquaponic Farming is Growing

Submitted by Damian Hinkson

AquaponicsWith a decade of experience in Aquaponic(AP) farming I am very happy to see AP systems now being created all over the island. The benefit of producing vegetables using fish manure rather than land animal’s or chemical fertilizers are many but the most attractive is the fact that your irrigation and fertilization is done automatically. Raising fish is virtually labour less In AP because as soon as the fish create waste in the water stream, it is pumped to a filter and broken down then quickly distributed to the plants where it is used as fertilizer. When compared to the physical labour, time and space involved to cleaning pens, pilling up manure until it has broken down then applying that to the soil it is easy to see why more people are interested in the instant results of AP systems.

Perhaps the biggest driving force of AP is timing, many in Barbados with vision will see in the near future domestic food production is the only way to be safe and secure. Along with the fact that we can now source cheap plastic and pumps that cost less than a fridge to run, interest is currently at an all time high and we at Baird’s Village Farms have worked hard to remove as many barriers to AP farming in Barbados as we can.

Without a doubt the science behind AP system design and the actual building of a system requires that the individual be intelligent, a handy person and also have the time and tools to dedicate towards the project. Also location specific information is not easily available to those who have not heard about us as yet. So we have designed a “ready done” AP system and in the process made it cheaper than if you were to put together a similar sized system.

For now AP is still new to Barbados and we need you to get the information out there to the people that matter. Please watch and share the slideshow and also give us some feed back in the comment section below as this is what makes us better and encourages us to keep going.

Producing Local Food to Feed Tourists–Can We Do It?

Hardly a week seems to go by without one or two prominent figures calling for, or in some cases demanding, more use of local produce by our tourism industry and especially restaurants. First, I absolutely and totally support this objective but I wonder if the energy expended in trying to make this happen is entirely well placed or in fact truly balanced.

Some time ago the dairy farmers were complaining about being forced to accept lower prices and reduced quotas, the virtual monopoly milk processing entity unilaterally stopped making yogurts locally, pretty much a basic serving menu article in most hotels and alternative accommodation offerings. No-one can convince me that it is cheaper to bring in a foreign made refrigerated alternative across 6,000 or more miles by road and ship and for the wholesale distributors to always disperse them within the stated sell by date. There has to be waste and spoilage.

I also understand the economics of mass branded cheeses like Cheddar, but surely there are specialty items that can be made locally like double cream, feta and cottage cheese which are largely imported with a huge drain of foreign currency.

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Understanding Aquaponics and Growing Food

Submitted by Damien Hinkson

We need to produce food.

We need to produce food.

My first true commercial farm upgrade to aquaponics (AP) is complete, the first of many more as the commercial farmers are rushing to exploit the labor saving qualities of AP. This type of farming comfortably puts you in the .3 to .7 worker per acre range, amazingly, with no additional labour skill sets required. This reduction in labor is replaced with small, constant energy usage.

When upgrading, priority is to utilize materials from on-site, the aim is to keep this as simple and cost effective as possible. Most pioneering farmers have usable materials from past projects, check. I wouldn’t go as far as to advice on system design because all systems, programs and growers are unique; however experience and good system design when converting are crucial for the continuity of the farm.

As a long time consultant on all things aquaponic and farming in general there are certain dynamics I have become acutely aware of in regards to farm and farmer for a project to be a success. I have some important ones list out here.

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Support the Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute of Barbados

Click to watch video (3m) - KickStarting a Permaculture school to teach people how to grow food, repair landscapes & build community.

Click to watch video (3m) – KickStarting a Permaculture school to teach people how to grow food, repair landscapes & build community.

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the project

Let Us Discuss Food Imports Minister YESTWICK!

Dr. Chelston Brathwaite with Minister Estwick

Dr. Chelston Brathwaite with Minister Estwick

“It has been reported that Barbados current food import bill is in the region of $800 million dollars annually.  The Minister of Agriculture has also stated that 65 percent of our food is produced locally. This means we import 35 percent of our food.  Our total food bill is therefore almost $2.3 billion dollars annually. This translates to over $20 per day for every man, woman and child.  Note that this is the cost at the point of production (or importation) and not point of sale. The cost at point of sale (supermarket, shop, restaurant etc.) would be higher to account for storage and distribution, profit, spoilage etc.  To get an idea of what this means lets look at a family of 4 shopping for all their food in a supermarket. This amounts to over $600 per week or $2400 per month.

I find this hard to believe.  Either the $800 million dollars per year is incorrect or the 65 percent is incorrect.  I tend to believe the 65 percent is incorrect and the Minister has the percentages reversed.  In other words, we import 65 percent of our food.  If this is correct we have a very long way to go towards food security.”

The above was submitted by Bentley where he raises the issue of food security which should concern all Barbadians. Although many Barbadians are indoctrinated and intoxicated by the benefits of globalization, a man made construct, BU subscribes to the position that a country is responsible for safeguarding its basic needs.

Relevant Link: CARDI Agriculture News

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The First Steps to Food Security

The following extract about Aquaponics submitted by Ready done

 Innovation Adoption Lifecycle - Wikipedia

Innovation Adoption Lifecycle – Wikipedia

Aquaponic farming dates back to the Aztecs but due to the currently available combination of cheap plastics and Magnetic drive pumps it was recently re-discovered and improved upon as a viable organic farming method. The system is designed to hold fresh water fish in tanks, in conjunction with plants in large plant pots. Fast draining Coconut fibre is used as an alternative to soil for when the fish’s water is pumped through the plant pots. The coconut fibre act like a battery holding the manure as the plant’s roots uses it yet it constantly re-charges from the fresh fish waste in the water stream as it passes through. The raw fish waste is converted by natural bacterial process that results in completely fertilized plants and clean water for fish.

Our mission is to bring aquaponics to the masses, to have AP systems as common place as the refrigerator, which, though it seems far fetch at this time is possible because AP produces food while a fridge only stores it. Ongoing efforts to get households growing food using aquaponics has allowed us to position ourselves as market leaders in the small but rapidly growing Aquaponics community on the island. We have acquired an intimate knowledge of what the industry requires and are seeing a dramatic increase of interest in the system by vastly diverse groups of people.

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Aquaponics Versus the Pet Dog

Submitted by Ready done

Aquaponics is the food production system the world is upgrading to from conventional industrial farming. The major problem it solves is that potassium fertilizer taken from mines and used to help crops produces 40% more fruit. It has worked well for the last 100 years but it is a finite resource and will be exhausted soon enough. When it is gone we will see a 40% drop in food production. The world will be a changed place.

Aquaponics does for fertilizers what biofuel does for gasoline. It fast tracks the potassium cycle from taking 1000’s of years to form underground then to be extracted to mere weeks from fish food. Aquaponics in its simplest form is watering your potted plants with aquarium water and letting the water drain back into the aquarium. This plant/fish relationship held and controlled in manmade containers takes excellent care of both the fish and the plants because the fish manure contains nutrients which the plants use. This is good news for anyone wanting to grow food who has never kept fish. The water begins in the fish tank and drains back into the same fish tank therefore only what the plant needs is taken. The rest of the water goes back to the fish and when the plant uses up the fish waste the water gets clean so you don’t have to clean your aquarium no matter how much you feed the fish. The water is not allowed to get stagnate and is kept moving with a small pump to put in oxygen that is needed to keep plant roots and fish alive.

On all accounts Aquaponics is a better way to grow food domestically because this is a closed system and you have no losses to nature. Farmers currently have problems with heavy rain fall washing away fertilizer before plants can take advantage or in the dry season. They are not sure how much fertilizer to use because when it is dry the fertilizer doesn’t spread out enough creating hot spots which kill plants if new fertilizer is applied and the old one is not used up. The surrounding earth absorbs the water you put to your plants making very large water bills Aquaponics takes away all that guess work. And fish don’t need as much time and care as conventional pets. No taking for walks or washing down pens. Fish are also silent and don’t smell, they really are the least socially disruptive animal that can be domesticated and this is only made possible with recent advances in cheap plastics and low energy water pumps. This is probably why our culture never kept any tilapia even though we have advantages in our rain fall patterns because in the dry season we get enough rain to sustain the small needs of an Aquaponics system. We also have the constant temperature needed for optimal fish growth. This means Aquaponics should be a permanent fixture in your household income revenue stream the modern equivalent to a kitchen garden.

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Adoption of Aquaponics Systems the Food Solution for Barbados

Submitted by Ready Done

'6,889 early adopters of Aquaponics systems needed'

‘6,889 early adopters of Aquaponics systems needed’

I got home yesterday and heard the unmistakable voice of my first crush Jacqueline Yvonne ‘Jackée’ Harry, there she was standing on that same step in a tight blue dress as curvy as l remember her. My daughter was watching the show 227, she likes the 80s era, as she puts it “ancient times”. This is the meaning of the information age. The generation X crew have a difficult time understanding how differently we accessed information. When I was her age 227 was after my bed time hour,  My only opportunity to watch Jackée was on my visit to the bathroom, and I would walk as slowly as possible the ten foot distance to ogle Jackée.

I also ran home from school to watch Sesame Street. I had to fight sleep to watch  X Files and Allo Allo. This generation knows nothing about waiting for information, the feeling of not having a conversation about last night’s TV show because you missed it is foreign to them . They get the news as it happens in detail, we only heard about bad car accident and saw a pic from a distance in the newspaper the next day. Our children get video of the accidents sometimes 5 minutes after it happens.

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Guerrilla Gardening Provides Healthy Food Alternative

Submitted by Green Monkey

One approach to providing healthy food alternatives to his neighbours, many or most of whom are accustomed to eating large amounts of disease inducing fast foods as a regular part of their daily food intake, comes from a guerrilla gardener and activist in South Central LA by the name of Ron Finley.

“South Central LA, home of the drive-thru, and the drive-by,” Finley says. “Funny thing is, the drive-thrus are killin’ more people than the drive-bys. People are dying from curable diseases in South Central LA.” – Ron Finley

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How Do You Eat Your Apples?

Submitted by Ready done

The popular herbicide Roundup is a watered down version of agent orange

Popular herbicide Roundup is a watered down version of agent orange

Some people eat apples as portrayed in the mass media from the side to the core, some eat from the bottom or top end because that way you eat the whole apple leaving only the seeds and stem, some people scrape the wax off of the apple before eating it. Most people don’t even know that some apples are dipped in wax to preserve it for years, some people read the bar code to see if it is an organic apple, some people peel the apple because they know the skin is the part that gets the most chemical spray, I personally don’t eat the red apple because it is imported, I prefer a mammy apple, golden apple or sugar apple. However way too much people have no idea what they are putting into their body. We tend to think that because it is sold in a supermarket it is good for us, we are inclined to forget that the supermarket is a business (to make a profit) it has nothing to do with our health.

There is an interesting link between chemicals used in war and chemicals used in food production which is not well known – we war with each other and we war with Mother nature. Chemicals used in agriculture are actually watered down versions of the chemicals used in war. Fertilizer use exploded onto the scene after the first world war because the war machinery that was used to create chemicals for bombs had to find an alternative use, it was easy to convert to be used in agriculture. The ammonium used in explosives is actually the same ammonium used in fertilizer, you should recall the Oklahoma City bombing.

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Baird’s Village Aquaponic System: Finding a Balance

Submitted by Ready Done

Modern Agriculture

Modern Agriculture

Finding a balance in life is one of the best feelings one can have, bills paid, meat in the fridge, veggies in the Aquaponic system. At this point in life, the air smells better and the grass is greener, no stress, life as mother nature intended it.

To maintain that state of balance is the hard part, the postman never forgets where you live and there are always next month’s bills. For an average person the cycle of work/pay is life as we come to know and love. We all understand how cashing in big now has repercussions for a long time after. Sometimes we grossly underestimate the length of the repercussions. We work as a society to spread out our responsibility and workload. The promise is that the average person can maintain a decent living with an honest day’s work; with that in mind the benefits of society far out way the required work, the mass production of high quality goods, like, toilet paper, Range rovers, North face bags and Galaxy s3’s make life sweet, we would not want to live without them. Our love affair with technology began when the first farmer left the first garden with the first tool.

A staff witch incidentally was the first piece of technology, given to us, ever since we have been improving upon technology to do what we always did, what we are programmed to do, garden, the current path of industrialized agriculture, genetically modified organisms and chemical fertilizers has worked well for us allowing one farmer to grow food for hundreds even thousands allowing us to have our full time jobs, and continue the cycle of society.

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T-Minus and Counting to Develop a Food Security Strategy

Submitted by Readydone

How can we transform Barbados from sole reliance on services?

How can we transform Barbados from an uncomfortable reliance on services?

Next time you walk into a supermarket take a good look around and enjoy the experience, after all,  you are paying for it, the light bill,  the manager’s mortgage, all of it is coming out your pocket even though you think all you are buying is food. Very little of your money is used to pay for food, the most of it is for the convenience of getting the food to you.

If you had to run down a yardfowl every time you wanted eggs for breakfast or pluck a chicken every time you ate a snack box, I am sure most of us would be father-thin vegetarians. So we go to the supermarket for our food every month or so but how reliable is the supermarket? The short answer is it isn’t. Let me illustrate.

It takes 3 days for all the shelves to empty in every supermarket when there is a hurricane watch, 3 days tops, that is how long it would take for us to start feeling the effect if the supply of food was to halt. Then what? I hope you have a backup plan, I got my kitchen garden.

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Try Quinoa!

Submitted by Readydone



Expecting Barbados food sources to transform from export to domestic is a very mighty task. This is compounded by the fact that we get up to five times our population in tourists annually. The result: the demand for food fluctuates too quickly for farmers to accurately judge what the market will be like when the crops are ready to harvest up to four months away. Our previous agriculture model of exporting sugar had numerous advantages for our small island. The fact the sugar takes a long time to expire and has excellent shipping and handling properties means that the farmer was almost guaranteed that his crop would be sold.

If agriculture is to survive given our small population, and benefit a greater number of people, not just the few that can afford the protection of the large greenhouses required if you want to grow vegetables for profit. We either have to find a more suitable export crop or promote the kitchen garden again. Baird Village Aquaponics has done some interesting research into finding an export crop. We researched rice, tobacco, grapes and soybean – all good – but Quinoa as a food crop for Barbados is showing the most real life potential, international research suggests the plant does not do well at low elevations, but Barbados has a very interesting environment that I personally believe can grow any crop.

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Sir Kyffin Simpson Shows Leadership Investing in Agriculture (in Guyana)

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group

Sir Kyffin Simpson

Sir Kyffin Simpson

The traditional corporate sector, in the Caribbean and in Barbados in particular, is not known as risk takers. Quite frankly, we believe that the development of the region has been systematically hampered by this traditional corporate class which has deep roots in the retail trade and are often afraid to venture out of their comfort zones.

This fear has led to the virtual paralysis of agriculture and has left the door wide open for foreign investors to reap benefits in industries such as manufacturing and tourism. Even in the area of sports and other leisure activities, this corporate group has often ignored investment opportunities. They preferred to invest in: private yacht clubs, polo and other activities, which have no real appeal to the masses. However, it would be dishonest to argue that their investments in horse racing have not brought employment opportunities for the working class.

We have noted that the failure of the corporate elite to heavily invest in West Indies cricket, is a glaring example of leaving the field open to the Kerry Packers and Allen Stanfords ,sometimes with negative results, as was the case of Stanford. West Indies cricket was fractured to some degree by Kerry Packer but we survived that episode, quite well, because the players were handsomely rewarded. Stanford turned out to be a dishonest investor.

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The Plight of the Local Dairy

Image Credit - Rosemary Parkinson

Image Credit – Rosemary Parkinson

The following article was extracted from Rosemary Parkinson’s Facebook Page. She has become known on Facebook and BU as a strident advocate for one cause or the other as it affects Bajans. A read of Rosemary’s Bio can be an intimidating experience; where does she find the time and energy!  At the core of what she does is publishing books about the foods of our region BUT her interest gleaned from her BIO is far-flung.

Love it. First OUR LOCAL DAIRY tries to fool the people with their so-called “fresh” milk that was not fresh but some new-fangled bad-tasting excuse for milk that could last on a shelf for 90 days.

When the people screamed, OUR LOCAL DAIRY thought they could fool even more people by putting same into the coolers of supermarkets but the taste remained the same and no matter what OUR LOCAL DAIRY did for marketing, nothing worked.

CEO of OUR LOCAL DAIRY says “consumption not like it used to be”…well Sir WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, PRAY TELL? You admitted that people used to drink more milk in the past…so you gave yourself the answer one time but just in case you still doan get it. WHEN THAT HORRIBLE MILK DID NOT SELL, WHY DID YOU NOT TAKE YOUR LOSSES, SCRAP DE PROCEDURE AND REVERT TO THE REAL MILK THAT HAD BEEN SELLING WELL FOR YEARS EH? Oh! No! No!…you believed that we the people would soon get over our disgust and begin the consumption of what you felt we had to consume whether we liked it or not. Perhaps your marketing man should have heeded my words at BMEX when you first launched there and he insisted this milk was “fresh from the cow”…for I said clearly…THE PEOPLE WILL NOT LIKE THIS…YOU WILL LOSE!

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Playing Roulette With Our Lives

The following extracted from Youtube:

Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?

When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

More information can be found at:

Food Prices Are Out Of Control

Submitted by Old Onions

Barbados food bill out of control

What  we can do to help ourselves …

Let’s face it food prices are not coming down anytime soon. Nor will certain promises that were made about “Priorities” some four and a half years ago, will be materializing, given that six months is all that’s left for scope.

So what can we do for ourselves to stave off the Dollar Monster living in the supermarket who seems hell bent on gobbling up the remainder of our savings, or sending us away with nothing much in hand? Times are not easy internationally this we know only too well.

With food prices rising, many of us (especially women) have already become well versed in the art of trimming our food budgets. In some instances, we have simply sacrificed on the quality and/or quantity of food eaten. In the face of inflation, many families may have no other recourse.

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David Estwick – Separating The Bark From The Bite, The Food Bill

David Estwick – Minister of Agriculture

The threat by Minister of Agriculture David Estwick to resign if his ministry does not procure an increase in its budget allocation can be analysed from a political or economic perspective. Did the recent Cadres Poll which labeled Estwick a political lightweight on the leadership index spur him to become more active?   View his outburst against the background that he is the only one from the E11 to follow through on a promise to sue the Nation Publishing Company. BU recalls Minister Ronald Jones promised to do the same. With a general election on the horizon a lot can be explained in the political context.

BU prefers to give Estwick the benefit of the doubt and to suggest by his outburst he has become frustrated at the lack of significant progress in his ministry since his transfer. It is the most optimistic Barbadians who believe that as a country we are committed to finding a way to increase production in the agriculture sector. The transformation in thinking required to influence policy as well as to gain buyin from the ordinary Barbadian remains a dream. What is also known, the government in waiting is committed to a service economy with  token focus on agriculture.

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Earth To Barbados, Too Much Concrete,You Need To Plant Food Too

Earth Day today

As this blog is being given life the clock ticks away on Earth Day. The fact that its significance is not mentioned in any serious way in the local media, or any strident mention made of it by those responsible in government and other relevant NGO agencies, sums up how confused we are about what our priorities must be in 2012. Ironically there is currently a lot of play about who should buy our precious land resource to build a hotel at Heywoods or guest houses at Whitehaven. It is to be regretted that Barbadians are not able to work at achieving multiple objectives at the same time given the current reality.

The perennial issue of the need for Barbadians to prioritize building out a plan to ensure food security and the focus Earth Day brings to the matter bears a mention. What will it take to create the awaking among the current generation of Barbadian that we must plan to feed ourselves, our children and generations to come? Food security is no joke and while we cannot have 100% food security there are initiatives which individuals and government alike can mobilize to mitigate the risk of doing nothing.

Are we happy that we can continue to earn enough foreign exchange to be able to stock our supermarket shelves with five brands of shoe polish, ten brands of cereal etc.? Whither the plan to engage in functional cooperation with Dominica and how can we leverage the wasteland of an emerging Guyana which yearns for investment?  What the hell are we doing?

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Carmeta Fraser Trumpeted ‘Food First’!

Image extracted from Facebook, BU apologizes if anyone finds it offensive

Successive Barbados governments in the last twenty have shown little appetite to develop a vibrant agriculture sector. There is now a resignation by all but a few that the way services go so too the economic fortune of Barbados. The Barbados Labour Party’s  (BLP) chief spokesman on economic matters Clyde Mascoll is on record dismissing any significant investment by his government in the sector, reason being the high cost of inputs.  The commonsense view that investing in a homegrown agriculture sector has more to do with addressing food security seems to be lost on policymakers. Of course there is the other reason which has to do with protecting our right to grow food which is not genetically modified and at the same time align with the positive message that healthy lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor.

This government has uttered the correct messages regarding the need to etch  an agriculture policy. However after four years there is not much one can honestly agree has been accomplished. There is the news making the rounds that the government currently has  several acres of land under fruit cultivation. The project is expected to supply local demand. Up to the time of posting this blog BU was unable to identify the location. The reality is that members of government reflect the values of the society which produced them.

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Man Turn On De Stove!

Posted by Rosemary Parkinson on BU blog – Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? – reposted because of its relevance

Have just returned from The Bahamas where I delivered a presentation on the future of culinary tourism…so I was very pleased to see all the above comments re food except for alien’s own. Sir or Madam – this is a blog about food not about sexual food but real food, the kind one puts into one’s stomach through the mouth – how black and white sex gets into here is beyond me…but I guess some minds just are able to turn everything into a barrage against whites because of historical facts whether they were good, bad or ugly (and they were all but it is past and these sexual unions have produced a wonderful colourful people of all hues, some who eat healthy food and others that open their mouths and immediately show what their stomachs are filled with so that the brain is never in gear with today’s life but seems to have been left to fry in the dirty oil of history. Whilst we should not forget, we should be happy we are now gorgeous Caribbean people with great soul food, and turn our thoughts positively about that! To each his own sadness I guess.)

Yes! Fast Food is not cheap. Yes! Fast food is unhealthy. This cry has been going out now for a very long time. But the fast food business is booming and will continue to do so because we are a lazy lot. And yes! what we do not realize is that Fast Food is also ‘addictive’. And yes! Fast Food can cause us to spend more with the doctor (they are happy…has anyone seen a poor doctor ’bout hey?).

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Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

Reproduced from             

It’s a common notion that part of the reason why so many people are overweight and obese and saddled with diet-related chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes is because they simply can’t afford to eat healthy. But are healthy foods really more expensive than their junk food counterparts?

An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times, by columnist Mark Bittman, argues that you can actually feed your family home-cooked meals for less than it costs to go to McDonald’s. Most people can, in fact, afford real food, Bittman argues. Which means, of course, that money alone doesn’t guide decisions about what to eat. In fact, the convenience, pervasive presence, and the addictive nature of processed food may be far more important factors.

Is Junk Food Really Cheap?

Most families nowadays are juggling not only tight schedules but also tight budgets, and when it comes time for dinner, a $1 hamburger from a fast-food “value menu” may seem like a frugal option. You have the U.S. government to thank for that $1 hamburger, as U.S. food subsidies are grossly skewed, creating a diet excessively high in grains, sugars, and factory-farmed meats. So there is some truth to the idea that junk foods can be cheap.

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Aquaponics, A Viable Option For Backyard Farming In The Heights And Terraces Of Barbados

Submitted by Ready Done


The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for everPsalm 93

With average rainfall topping thirty year levels. We are seeing “floods” of water every where. Not all destructive, many of you have rain water harvested but feel it is not effectively utilized. It is surprising that an island that has no large bodies of surface water has invested very little in micro-level fresh water conservation.

All the necessary hardware components are available around the house or ultimately the store. Cheap water tanks, reused containers like bath tubs and pipe fittings combined with energy efficient water pumps have made post-industrial food production technology  affordable for the home owner.

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Is Roberts Manufacturing Supplying Feed To Chickmont Foods Which Is Infected With Hormones And Antibiotics?

Minister of Health Donville Inniss

BU has been concerned for some time about the quality of food we import. The import bill is reported to be approaching one billion dollars. Escalating use of preservatives and hormones by so-called respectable manufacturers has legitimize many products we eat.  The most educated among us are too ignorant to question the quality of food on supermarket shelves in Barbados. While we have focused on the shady behaviour of Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified foods, the question we need to have answered is whether local and regional suppliers have been engaging in unwholesome manufacturing practices.

Robert’s Manufacturing controls the animal feed market in Barbados which makes it an obvious target. Can the management of Roberts Manufacturing confirm if its animal feed were to be tested would it be found free of unacceptable levels of growth hormones and antibiotics?

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The Story Of Respectable Thieves Colluding To Price Gouge Bajans

The issue of high food prices continues to be furiously debated in Barbados. To be expected much of the debate is tainted with partisan political rhetoric. The government ran a political platform during the last general election based on a promise, one of many, to Barbadians to reduce food prices. The reality is Barbados was in the lag period of a looming global recession but it did not deter many Barbadians from believing a magic wand was all that would have been required to right the problem.

Several factors in recent months have had the effect of negatively impacting food prices on the world market. Barbados imports almost all of its food and therefore this makes the business of food security a top priority. BU agrees food prices are controlled by external forces but there is a level of efficiency which must be managed internally to ensure Barbadian consumers benefit from the best price.

Earlier we discussed on another blog Breaking The Stranglehold On High Prices Will Call For A Holistic Strategy. What came out in the discussion, to the surprise of some, was the reason the ministry of commerce discontinued publishing the prices of staple products sold by leading retailers in Barbados. BU has confirmed from a reliable source the ministry has no budget to support the initiative of publishing food prices. It seems paradoxical that a government who has as its number one priory reducing the cost of living cannot not exercise budget ‘cleverness’ by allocating a relatively small sum to support the effort of officers in the ministry of commerce, harsh economic times notwithstanding.  Again BU is reliably informed that the ministry of commerce has about 10 officers who are mobilized from time to time to check prices on shelves across Barbados. Unfortunately the output of their activities will remain secreted on the desks of bureaucrats in the various government departments.

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Prioritizing Food

Two contrasting stories, what is depicted in the video clearly illustrates what can be done with the right ‘will’. The story below shows why we need to find the right ‘will’, and fast!

The following article reveals the devastating and unprecedented impact that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is having on the health of our soil, plants, animals, and human population. Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health. It is no secret Roundup is used with gay abandon in Barbados.

Breaking The Stranglehold On High Prices Will Call For A Holistic Strategy

Andy Armstrong, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce

I am just fed up with the mark-ups . . . I was in a supermarket recently and I wanted to call the health inspectors. The quality of the English potatoes was so poor! So you are not only paying more money, but getting poorer quality,” Benn added…Sir, I have being complaining for the last five years and no government department takes me on. I am further convinced some importers are importing low grade or rejected potatoes which are not fit for human consumption Minister of Commerce Haynesley Benn (Nation)

It started with Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler making the charge at the kick off by-election political meeting in St. John that retailers have been ripping of consumers in Barbados. He went on to challenge officers in the ministry of commerce to getup off their backsides and patrol the supermarket aisles to ferret out and expose cases of ‘price gouging’. On queue a couple days later Minister of Commerce Haynesly Benn paraded a number of items to the media, which at face value, supported Sinckler’s case that retailers have indeed been pricing products unreasonably high. It is at this point things have become very interesting.

Both political parties have struggled over the years to rein in the cost of living. Before the recession when there was plenty of money in circulation an already passive Barbadian consumer had become price insensitive. Well into the throes of a global recession of the worst kind, a desperate government which has over promised and under delivered on reducing food prices faces an uphill battle. It should be obvious in the prevailing economic climate that it will be well-nigh impossible to significantly reduce prices. It does not mean that as a country we should not be vigilant to the practice of what is termed ‘price gouging’.  The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) which was setup to safeguard the interest of Bajan consumers has been asleep at the switch from its inception. To add to the problem of government the Washington Post reported yesterday that the battle is on to keep global food prices from soaring.

The issue of high food prices like most things in Barbados has become a heavily politicise one. Wholesale distributors and the major retailers are in the main controlled by the merchant class. The inability of successive governments to effectively manage food prices clearly illustrates a case of those who control the economic power trumping those who have the political power.

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Food Security Not A National Priority

In the Barbados Advocate Business Monday of October 18, 2010 Professor Avinash Persaud was quoted as making the asinine statement, “being food self-sufficient is unobtainable and anyone who believes otherwise is not being realistic’”. Who was Persaud referring to? What BU has been hearing is the need for Barbados to develop a food security plan. In 2008 former minister of agriculture Haynesley Benn intimated such a plan would be introduced in 2010. Minister Benn has subsequently moved on to another ministry the result of a Cabinet reshuffle – the promised plan may yet be delivered by Minister of Agriculture David Estwick.

Whenever the debate what is the best strategy Barbados should adopt for agriculture surfaces, the proponents are accused by Persaud and those of his ilk as romanticizing the sector. Successive governments have allowed agriculture policy to become stymied by the indecision whether to commit to a service base economy and or develop a feasible agriculture sector. The argument as always existed if we commit to a service based economy the opportunity exist to combine a limited intensive agriculture production with the number one productive sector.

While our governments continue to vacillate on whether to subsidized the agriculture sector (many of the world’s developed countries subsidize agriculture), it should be of interest to learn of recent developments which on the surface seem to be tangential to the issue of food security. On closer examination one can reasonable conclude there is a potential threat to global food security.

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