August is the Emancipation Month in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and breadfruit-related activities are widely encouraged during this time. Breadfruit is often connected with slavery, since the plant was brought to St. Vincent from Polynesia specifically to feed the slaves in 1793. The first trees were brought to Kingstown’s Botanical Gardens by no other than captain William Bligh, whose first journey was interrupted by the infamous mutiny on the „Bounty”. He didn’t give up though, and his second trip was more successful.
Breadfruit is now widespread through the wet, tropical areas and is believed to be one of the resources that can end hunger in many countries – as the Trees That Feed Foundation tries to prove, among others, in our neighbors’ Haiti. Currently there are 25 varieties of breadfruit trees all over St. Vincent. It is typically roasted (traditional Vincy meal is fried fish with roasted breadfruit), but there are other uses, some of them long forgotten, which the Breadfruit Festival tries to bring back.
The festival takes place over August weekends, in different parts of the island. In Chateaubelair, it took place last Saturday in Beach Front restaurant. The owners proposed many breadfruit-based meals, such as lasagna, roti, cheescake, burgers, chips and many more. Richmond Vale Academy took part in the event, supporting the promotion of local food over imported GMOs.
As a side project, we’ve been trying to bring back the breadfruit flour – something that only the oldest of Vincentians remember, and only in some areas of the country. Breadfruit flour, as it turned out, is easy to make and can be used to bake. We have made 2 loafs of bread: one with half breadfruit flour and half wheat, the other one 100% breadfruit flour (gluten free!). The breads both have a specific taste, some people like it, others not so much. However, if we could replace the imported, genetically modified wheat flour in our kitchen with locally produced, sustainable and organic breadfruit flour, it would bring us just one more step closer to making St. Vincent the first self-sustainable and climate compliant nation.
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