Several varieties of the Jamaican breadfruit plant, and tasty dishes prepared from the popular staple, will be on display at the Institute of Jamaica’s (IOJ) annual Heritage Fest, scheduled for the IOJ, 10-16 East Street, Kingston, on Friday, October 26, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
The one-day event, being held under the theme ‘Celebrating 225 years of the Breadfruit: From Bligh to Roast ‘n’ Fry’, will also feature a panel discussion, concert, culinary competition, heritage tours, exhibitions and booths.
It is one of the signature events of the IOJ, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, to celebrate October as Heritage Month.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, and other key stakeholders are expected to bring greetings at the opening ceremony in the IOJ’s Lecture Hall, beginning at 10:00 a.m. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the value of the breadfruit.
The slated panellists are Secretary-Treasurer and Co-Founder, Trees That Feed Foundation, Mike McLaughlin; Senior Lecturer, Department of Food Production, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, Professor Laura Nkrumah; Senior Lecturer, College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Dr. Seymour Webster; and National Home Economics Coordinator, Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Alicia Fulton.
Admission to Heritage Fest is free, and students, teachers and residents from nearby communities are invited to join the experience.
The IOJ’s Deputy Director, Nicole Patrick Shaw, told JIS News that the event is being held to commemorate the breadfruit’s arrival in Jamaica.
She said the objective is to enable persons to “gain a better understanding of the history of the breadfruit as well as its medicinal, economic and nutritional value”.
“The breadfruit is part of our history. It is a diverse fruit that has so much potential as an economic product [and] as a medicinal product,” she said, adding that it is among the “unique resources within our environment that we can utilise to our benefit”.
In a JIS publication, ‘Our Culinary Heritage’ – reprinted in 2003, the book states that the first breadfruit brought to Jamaica was obtained in the South Pacific by Captain William Bligh and shipped aboard the HMS Providence in 1793.
The breadfruit would, over time, become an affordable source of food for the large number of slaves who worked on the island’s sugar-cane plantations.
Mrs. Shaw said the Heritage Fest will be useful to persons interested in “profiting from the breadfruit and who would love to learn new recipes”.