Fresh Food

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I was born and raised on the island of Antigua in the West Indies.   Growing up on a Caribbean island definitely had its advantages (sun, sea and sand..what more could a kid want?) but a common misconception is that there is an abundance of fresh food.  My friends in the US don’t believe me when I tell them this…I think they’ve all envisioned a tropical paradise with food growing everywhere! LOL  Antigua has always been a particularly dry island which has made it hard to maintain a sustainable agricultural industry. Because of this, Antigua imports almost all of its food from the United States and it is typically not the best quality stuff!  Needless to say, it was not until I came to live in the US that I discovered all of the amazing foods that I now get to eat whenever I want. Yum!

The island has however come a long way in the last 30 years…there is actually a farmer’s market on Tuesdays and Fridays now!!  If you know anything about Antigua, you know this is a huge deal.  I’m visiting for a friend’s wedding in a week and I can’t wait to check it out.  This is exactly what the island needs….when strawberries are considered a luxury item, and people spend upwards of US$800 a week on groceries for a family of four, you know there is a serious problem!  The solution is cheaper, better quality local food and less imported, heavily taxed junk!

My home country was actually part of my motivation for enrolling at Integrative Nutrition. Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease have reached epidemic proportions in the entire Caribbean region and it is entirely diet-related.  I just knew I had to figure out a way to reach people there too. I’ve already signed up clients on the island and plan to acquire a lot more by the time I leave. Eventually, I want to get my hands on the island’s school meals program but that may take some time…Wish me luck! :)

COMMENT
  • Nicole Jardim
  • 2010-05-12

Hey Jana, thanks for your post, it was so interesting! Seriously, modern agriculture has permeated the farthest corners of the planet and unfortunately not much good has come from it. It is really sad that we have to go to such great lengths just to get food that isn't covered in toxic pesticides and full of hormones and antibiotics. I worry about the quality of food here too... You will be able to keep your kids away from McDonalds, if you don't eat it they won't eat it :) At least that is the hope! And, congratulations to you and Steve by the way..yaaay!

  • Nicole Jardim
  • 2010-05-12

Thanks for the link Denny! Window farming looks like something I would want to try in my tiny NYC apartment :) In Antigua we have tons of land available, the problem is the lack or infrastructure, resources, equipment and water. There are a couple of things in the works but they are always hindered by third world politics.

  • Jana
  • 2010-05-12

Wow that is very surprising! I also pictured Antigua, people have farm with animals and grow there own vegetables and fruits. When I was growing up in Czech Republic I did not have to worry about food quality at all. No food would last more that 3 days in grocery stores. Bread would get hard, milk and yogurt would go bad... I have never seen frozen dinners until I came to USA. Almost everyone in Czech had their own little farm with couple of cows and a few chickens. Some people also had goats and sheep. We would get eggs and milk from our neighbors mostly of the time. My parents always grew their own vegetables and fruits. Everything you got from grocery store would not last very long so we had to go grocery shopping almost every day. Well this has changed in past a few years. European Union and their regulations! They closed down many farms and put regulations on people small farms, what they may have and what they may not have and how many. They started importing foods from other countries. Food regulations has gone down the toilet so pretty much everything from anywhere can get into our supermarkets. Big foreign supermarkets started to take over small Czech grocery stores. People started to like to shop cheaper for food. My parents have to watch what they buy now these days. They only remember how it use to be. They still can not believe how much junk it's being put into the food. Food no longer last 3 days, it last 3 months and up to couple of years. There is plenty of people protesting against this but no one listens. I am also worry about the food quality in USA and worry for my kids one day. How do I keep them away from McDonalds? This is going to be challenging.... :)

  • denny
  • 2010-05-8

Perhaps the window farming would be very useful in Antigua. It's very interesting. Check out this program http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125504307

  • Chantal
  • 2010-05-2

Wow a farmers market in Antigua? Thats amazing! I think starting something like that will eventually open more doors and encourage people to eat healthier, give them an incentive to grow their own food, and focus less on eating processed foods. I think that this is a great incentive for people to come to terms with their health and the importance of living a life with joy and happiness.

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