Support for our islanders

Dear Readers

By now you are all familiar with the devastation and loss caued by Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Jose among several islands in the Caribbean. Friends and fellow agriyouth from Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia and the Bahamas all where hard it.

Tech4gri team members, Andre Huie of Voice of the Caribbean Radio and Mitchel John of Agroguede Backyard Gardening were hit hard, in particular in D0minica where Mitchel resides.

Andre and his family are well. However we have not been able to reach Mitchel.

Just recently we have been informed he is ok via another Dominican colleague

Rather than post more images of the destruction and the loss, we at Tech4agri choose to remember our first physical meeting with Mitchel in Barbados, after having worked with Tech4agri remotely for a year.

As you can see above our mutual passion for media read well on camera.

He like so many other agriyouth have a bright future to look forward to. However they must rebuild and it is our duty as fellow islanders to assist.

There are many avenues in which you can donate to bring much needed support.

Stay Dedicated!

A Caribbean Medley of herbs and spices

What happens when a person of two different Caribbean ethnicities decides to become a chef? “A big aromatic bubbling pot of flavours of course”! So said by Darriel Ambrose a young chef of Vincentian and Trinidadian parentage.

There were quite a few occupations that had peaked Darriel’s interest before becoming interested and dedicated to the culinary arts; an obstetrician, a psychologist, a pilot and a French teacher. However, after seeking spiritual guidance through fast and prayer, a practice she says has never failed her to date, the question arrived: “What would genuinely make me happy in the next 5- 10 years?” Without hesitation Darriel knew hier calling was to become a chef.

“I realised besides the fact that I love my belly, I would always have a fascination to create and experiment with food. That my interest for science would still have purpose when I create molecularly gastronomised dish (in short layman’s terms – creating foams, changing the structure of food and making liquid spheres). 

Not only choosing a career that would provide for me financially, I knew that my heart would be in it and that all the gifts I was blessed with would uniquely be utilised along the way with the title. Now it’s my life, my passion and obsession!” 

It was while at Polytechnical Institute, Darriel decided to further her studies in the culinary arts and got accepted into the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami Florida. Today Darriel is part of a team of chefs who assiduously work to meet the demands and expectations of hungry patrons at a popular restaurant on Trinidad’s western peninsula.

Darriel credits her mother for fostering her love for food and flavours and she would often use fresh herbs and spices from their kitchen garden back home in St. Vincent.

Darriel is striving to one day become an iconic chef creating Vincentian fine dining fusion cuisine and revolutionizing the way food is created and made in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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The Eye Within The Tornado

The Thought For Food (TFF) Foundation has successfully concluded its TFF challenge at the global summit in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and as always, it has left us with a thought-provoking temperament.

“Give the world what you can offer” – Alpha Sennon

This was a quote from Alpha Sennon, co-founder of the WHYFARM (We-Help-You-Farm) Organization and key-note speaker at the TFF global summit. It is a simple yet powerful statement that always invites introspection…..What do I have to offer? With new challenges and new inventions increasing daily, we the young innovators of tomorrow are in the midst of a tornado. A tornado filled with changes all around us that take us into uncertain directions. But how do we overcome this situation?

This year the TFF movement saw over 8000 innovators all geared towards the worldwide challenge of feeding 9+ billion people by 2050. Against the background of on precision agriculture, food producing architecture/agricultural systems and indoor growing, this year’s TFF summit also delved into the latest synthetic biology and other science-based innovations. The summit facilitated an exploration into #whatsnext in food and agriculture.

The mere thought that each individual through their own projects can have their own direct involvement in food security beacons the accomplishments the world can achieve. The summit in itself creates an opportunity for each individual to add to the world of innovation, their way of making a change.

Read the full post on the TFF Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Two: Alpha Sennon (WhyFarm Founder) presenting at the summit

YPARD Strong at #tffsummit!

And so it began! The build up to the #tffsummit at De Kromhoutal event space in Amsterdam, was unbelievable. Many, were in anticipation and then it took off to a great start!
YPARDIANS Everywhere! There were many of our members at the TFF all working in different roles for the event. Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Trinidad & Tobago, Croatia, Nepal, the Netherlands- all represented!
Against the background of on precision agriculture, food producing architecture/agricultural systems and indoor growing, this year’s TFF summit also delved into the latest synthetic biology and other science-based innovations. The summit facilitated an exploration into #whatsnext in food and agriculture.
Some of the Country representatives attended the Thought for Food Summit. We each came on our own with individual responsibilities however together we are YPARD strong at one of the biggest food, agriculture and innovations events for youth in the world!
As the day quickly passed with all the mind blowing innovations on show, Tech4Agri  &  YPARD T&T team member, Christopher practice mobile journalism to assist with our social media work for the event.
Keron, T&T country rep for YPARD was fortunate to partner with the TFF to provide social reporting for the event.

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Tech4agri is official the #TFFSUMMIT 2017!

It’s official! Tech4Agri are media partners for the Thought for Food Sumit!

We are proud to have earned this opportunity to provide our social reporting service alongside some of the biggest names in food tech news.

Given our partnership we are excited to be the link to the caribbean youth who we strive to support!

As you know the challenge seeks to solve how do we feed 9 billion people by 2050 our projected population of the future. University students take on this task creating #whatsnext in food and agriculture. Their projects represent solutions to real problems facing commuities of every kind throughout the world.

Best of luck to the TFF finalist teams in their pitch! Some of these innovative projects include: a solar powered, floating greenhouse that desalinates ocean water for farm use, a bio particle that safely breaks down pesticide and a dried, fruit based nutrient-rich food which can be used in disaster relief situations and as a solid fuel source.

Clearly the future is ever present in great part to TFF and our community.

It does not stop there. Additionally particiants have access to masterclasses which are hands on, learn by doing workshops. As a participant myself I am keen to be a part of the Next Gen Assemblies – it’s all new!

“These are the TFF twist on the traditional break-out sessions you see at other conferences. The Next-Gen Assemblies have been specially designed to explore cutting-edge topics in food and agriculture using new types of approaches to maximize dialogue and solution development.”

Where else would you go to learn about gamified sustainability, experimental cities, circular economy and DIY innovation and so much more?!

Well you could probably learn those things online, especially as not everyone would be able to be physically be present.

That’s why Tech4Agri will be there live! We will be on twitter, instagram facebook and you can follow live streams . Follow the the hashtag #TFFsummit #TFFchallenge

And we happy to report that our partner Alpha Sennon of WHYFarm will be the closing speaking for the event. He’ll be tell you just exactly how we can beat the challenge #9bx2050. We’re bringing our region to the world!

 — Keron, Creator, Tech4Agri

 

 

A One-Woman Enterprise!

Regina King, entrepreneur & creator of King’s Speciality Drinks

Pannist, choir member, model, actress and woman entrepreneur. Not everyone can boast nor manage such a broad portfolio but one person has certainly done so successfully. Regina King is the founder and mastermind behind one of Trinidad and Tobago’s emerging beverage companies ‘King’s Specialty Drinks’. The company offers a unique array of liquors and ponche de crème which can be used for any occasion.

King hails from the district of Point Fortin, Trinidad and is employed at an energy company in the south of the island. She focuses on her employer’s work during the day and concentrates on her business on evenings and weekends.

My interest was immediately piqued when I sampled some of her product offerings at a recent pop-up market. I knew I wanted to find out a little more about her business so we scheduled an interview.

King’s Specialty Drinks started six years ago as a spinoff from a family tradition creating ponche de crème, cakes and other Christmas delicacies synonymous with Trinidadian Christmas cuisine.

Regina recalls always taking a keen interest in helping around the kitchen while her mom and grand mom would prepare for family gatherings.

“I remember always trying to encourage my mom and grand mom to sell their products because the family recipes would often be a hit among the rest of the family, friends and colleagues. However they would usually laugh off the idea (of a busines) and I don’t think they had the right acumen at the time to understand the foresight I had.”

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Feed the worms not the birds

The Trinidad Boissierre Earthworm Farm – composting workshop and activities of the recently held #techagriexpo2017

Business owners in the agriculture sectors as with many other sectors are always seeking sustainable methods to boost product yield and limit wastage.

Most of us know about or have heard about composting however one would have nurtured a gold mine by using nature’s master composters: worms. The slimy worms also known as oligochaete are more than just bait on a hook or a parasite to humans.

They are a diverse group of organisms whose niche is to decompose organic matter. This is where vermicomposting comes in.

Vermicomposting, if you have not realized by now, is composting with worms. It is an excellent way to assist with proper waste management. However not all worms are suitable to this task.

So what’s the big deal with vermicomposting?

In Vermicomposting, the worms assist with the conversion of the the organic matter or material into a high-end product readily available for plants to use.  How is this possible? Worms feed on the leftovers along with the bacteria produced from the decomposing materials. This in turn accelerates digestion which:

  • Allows matter to physically break down as it passes through the digestive system, providing the bacteria more surface area to act on and
  • Provides more bacteria and enzymes that speeds up the chemical reactions required to produce the compost.

The castings which they produce, are a nutrient-rich addition to the soil. Worm castings contain a highly active biological mixture of bacteria, enzymes, remnants of plant matter and animal manure, as well as earthworm cocoons (while damp). The castings are rich in water-soluble plant nutrients, and contain more than 50% more humus than what is normally found in topsoil.

How is it compared to regular composting?

Some of the benefits of vermicomposting are:

– The use of the worms helps shorten the time taken for harvesting.

– The process is more thorough as both the earthworms and the microorganisms they produce  are acting on the organic material

– Soil contains a higher nutrient value.

– It is more aesthetically appealing; therefore, it is easier to market.

– The process requires less labour, through the borrowing action of the worms to help with the mixing and aeration of the soil.

– And best of all it has a low set up cost.

So how can we develop this practice at home?

Well like any other organism, once you provide them with the right conditions, such as food and shelter, the worms and the process would thrive.

Not all earthworms are suitable for indoor composting. The most common types are the wrigglers, crawlers and garden-variety earthworms. But it would be wise and less expensive to use local or native worms. Such Species are: Eudrilus eugeniae or African Night Crawler, Perionyx excavatus or Indian Blue Worm.

Trinidad Earthworm Farm Boissierre Greens is a partnership between Mark Mica and Dexter Ragonannan, both of whom are interested in healthy waste management, and organic fertilizers. They are located at Boissierre Trace, Gran Couva, Caroni and graciously provided us with an interview to learn more about the practice and their work as pioneers in the field here in T&T.

Mark is currently reading for his PHd in Soils with vermicomposting research providing the base for the establishment of the business.

For more information on vermicomposting please visit their Facebook page and contact them for advice and to schedule a visit to their composting workshop. These workshops include materials, audio and visual displays, a hand guide and a certificate.

When a Caribbean staple meets Italian cuisine!

From left: Jody White (Owner and Founder of Slimdown 360) and Clarence Rambharat (Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad & Tobago)

A traditional Sunday lunch in most Caribbean households would consist of rice or a pie of some sort, be it macaroni pie or green fig pie, complemented by stewed beans or peas, green leafy vegetables or delicious callaloo, as well as stewed or baked meats. Several Caribbean dishes would not be complete without tubers, better known as ground provisions neatly sliced at the side of the plate.

An assortment of ground provisions including dasheen, cassava, sweet potatoes, eddoes or yams may be used. In another household more than 8300 km away in an Italian household, a typical dish may consist of many variations of pasta.

What happens when a young entrepreneur from Trinidad and Tobago decides to merge these two favourite staple dishes from completely different cultures? That’s right, you guessed it – provision based pasta!

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Agrosuede: Complementing growth

Sometimes backyard gardens can get out of hand. Growth is a powerful thing.

However with the right amount of care and attention, the yields of course are rewarding. As the famous Agriman of W.H.Y.Farm says ” Plant one tree, Eat for free”

Today with the last of this series, Mitchel explains the green touch needed for cherry tomatoes and safely transplanting plants that just grow anywhere..like the roof.

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Agrosuede: Money, Yield, Improvise

You’ve got a thriving backyard garden. There’s a demand for your produce. You have the best seasoning in the village. The logical next step: How can this earn me money!

Agrosuede gives his insight as a young entrepreneur.

Getting into business means you’ve got to keep your yield up. Mitchel give his tips to do just that for peppers. Not only is your yield important but so too are your operations. You may want to scale up.

In today’s last video feature, Mitchel explains how to build a sizable, low cost planter from scratch. This way you can maximize on space in a more effective way.

See more videos below via the read more link below.

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