2015 International Breadfruit Conference

Bfruit conferenceMike and Mary hit the road this week for the 2015 International Breadfruit Conference in Trinidad! The conference is hosted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and PCS Nitrogen.

UWI believes that breadfruit has the potential to improve food and nutrition security and is hosting this conference to convene various breadfruit actors, researchers and entrepreneurs to address increasing opportunities for breadfruit commercialization.

The Daily Express ran a recent article about breadfruit and UWI’s work with the fruit. The benefits of breadfruit are highlighted as “gluten-free, has high energy from carbohydrates, is a source of protein and dietary fiber, and has a high potassium content.” Breadfruit is described to have “a lower glycemic index than widely-consumed imported cereals. This nutritional content makes it attractive in the fight against diseases like diabetes and hypertension.” To read the full article, click here.

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Trees at Tacius Golding High School

GroupphotoTSchoolThe Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund provided an introduction between Trees That Feed Foundation, Karlene Johnson and Tacius Golding High School, after which TTFF provided breadfruit trees and equipment. Read a report below from representatives of the Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund about their recent visit to Tacius Golding and the progress of donated TTFF breadfruit trees and equipment!

“Tacius Golding High School sits on 17 acres of land with a stream in rural St Catherine. They have Mr. McCalla, who teaches agriculture and wields a mean machete. Mr. McCalla took us out to inspect breadfruit trees that were donated from TTFF. About sixteen breadfruit trees have been planted so far, with the rest on hold due to drought. Mr. McCalla has been careful to leave some undergrowth to protect the small trees, as shade will help them survive the dry season.

Karlene Johnson is on sabbatical from Tacius Golding. She is completing a degree in literature at the UWI. Karlene is one of the literature prize winners being mentored by the Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund. Karlene’s dream is to make Tacius Golding self-sufficient. The Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund introduced Karlene to TTFF, and TTFF donated breadfruit trees and equipment to manufacture breadfruit flour to the school.
TaKJBreadfruitTreeJamaicacius Golding will use the flour to feed hungry students and also sell the flour to fund educational projects, with children will learning business skills during the process. 

Here are some pictures of our first visit to Tacius Golding to meet the staff and students and observe the progress they have made since planting. We will be posting new updates as they progress on their journey.”


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School to School Support!

OakridgeTrees That Feed Foundation recently received a generous donation from the fourth grade class at The Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas. We were so excited to learn about their awareness and fundraising efforts!Oakridge’s donation will provide breadfruit porridge meals to an entire school in Jamaica. These schools will be connected so that students can be in touch with each other during the school year.

Below is a letter we received from one of the students’ teachers:

“To Whom It May Concern:

On behalf of The Oakridge School I would like to present a check for a donation to your foundation. Our fourth graders did a unit on ecosystems, the environment, and helping others in need. Three classes of fourth graders then held a garage sale to raise money for the organization. They brought toys and games from home and sold them to the first, second and third graders. They had a terrific time.”

Great job, Oakridge students! Thank you for your hard work. 

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Collaboration in the Caribbean: New program this fall!

Yvonette's garden with breadfruit  tree inHaitiTrees That Feed Foundation recently received a grant from The Conservation, Food & Health Foundation to facilitate a new fruit tree propagation program in the Caribbean, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

Sustainability is a priority of Trees That Feed’s. Amongst multiple elements of our mission, we work to help individuals learn how to propagate their own fruit trees to ultimately achieve food independence. This new program will be doing exactly that.

Through the program, a group of Haitian farmers will travel with TTFF to Jamaica in Fall 2015 to learn fruit tree propagation techniques from The College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) experts, Jamaican agriculturalists and nurserymen. Following the trip, TTFF will work with Haitian trip participants and partners to implement the training techniques learned during the visit to Jamaica. This program will build internal capabilities in Haiti to locally source food-bearing trees, thereby increasing food supply, market input, jobs and environmental restoration.

Join us with this new initiative! If you would like to contribute to this program,please donate here.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Dryer Design: Part 3

3rd dryer 2 We have our next installment of solar dryer updates below!

Mike continues to be hard at work and the rooftop module for the hybrid solar dryer is now finished. The sides are marine plywood and the top is sheet metal painted black. (Cutting out the holes for ventilation was the most difficult part!) On top is a solar fan and a turbine vent for sunny and/or windy days.

These pictures show front and back views of the roof module mounted on the upper cabinet. The solar exhaust fan is white and faces south; the turbine vent is a bronze color on the other side. These two units will ultimately mount atop the lower cabinet.3rd dryer 3

The next step is stainless steel mesh shelf and runners, and then we will just need a few nice hot days for testing purposes!

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Trees That Feed Heroes: Sandra Myers

sandra Myers photo 2Sandra Myers is our hero extraordinare in Barbados! Representing Trees That Feed Foundation, Sandra is collaborating with Sandals Foundation and the Ministry of Education in Barbados on an education project that will eventually reach 105 schools. As part of Earth Day 2015, Sandra and 20 Sandals volunteers launched the project in three schools where theyplanted food-bearing trees and engaged students and teachers in helping the environment. Students were thrilled to get their hands dirty!

Sandra grew up with her older sister in Kingston, Jamaica. After attending the University of the West Indies, she relocated to Barbados in 1996 for a one-year contract that turned permanent. She worked in human resources, consulting and traveling to Dutch and English speaking countries in the Caribbean. Her workshops focused on strategic planning, performance management and staff morale improvement.

When Sandra retired, her volunteer career began. She works with the Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI), which focuses on sustainability and is an education and demonstration center for Barbados. CPRI’s purpose is to meet the needs of humanity while benefiting the environment, aligning closely with TTFF’s mission.

While growing up in Jamaica, Sandra and Mary McLaughlin met as students attending St. Andrew’s High School for Girls. When they reconnected a few years ago, a new partnership was born. TTFF gained a tireless hero, and Sandra now drives to work with a huge smile on her face, doing something that makes her feel good every day! Thank you, Sandra!

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Dryer Design: Part 2

Here’s the next stage!Dryer Part 2

The solar dryer comprises four modules: the collector(s), lower cabinet, upper cabinet and roof. The collectors get warm in the sun, and warm air flows into the cabinet. The cabinet (lower portion) gathers the warm air from the collectors and directs it upwards. So, each of the heat collectors feeds into this lower portion, which is now mostly complete. The upper portion of the cabinet holds the shelves which carry the fruit. As warm air rises through the cabinet, it dries the fruit.dryer part 2 pic 2

The fourth module is the roof which protects against rain and augments t
he natural convection. The roof will hold a solar exhaust fan to transport moist air out, and so drying out the fruit. We think this solar dryer will work for breadfruit, mango, paw paw and other fruit, depending on the season. Stay tuned for our next dryer update!

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Dryer Design and Data

Mike Dryer Trees That Feed Foundation’s newest project: a solar dryer for breadfruit! Based on some great preliminary work through our partnership with Northwestern, we are getting a prototype ready for the Caribbean. Mike has been hard at work on this project, as you can see. Read an update from him below:

“Here is the first solar dryer component, the solar collector. This is a 4′ x 8′ corrugated metal sheet, painted black, within a wood frame, covered by an acrylic top. Solar energy at the earth’s surface is approximately 1 kW per sq. meter. This collector is roughly two square meters and the idea is to feed warm air into a cabinet dryer. The warm air will rise through the cabinet and dry out the shredded breadfruit, which sits on stainless steel mesh shelves. Dried breadfruit has a long shelf life (one year or more), so this process will help supply food year-round to people in Haiti, Jamaica and elsewhere. Solar test graph

Here is the actual data on the solar collector.Even in the cool Chicago spring, we raised the air temperature by over 25 degrees F and lowered relative humidity from 42% to 16%. That should dry out the fruit and preserve it nicely. And it should work even better in the hot tropical sunlight of Jamaica and Haiti! 

Next step … the cabinet and its ventilation. Stay tuned.”

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Teaming up with Sandals

Sandals launchThis past Earth Day marked the first step in an exciting new collaboration between Sandals Foundation and Trees That Feed Foundation! 

Under the lead of TTFF Barbados representative Sandra Myers, Sandals and TTFF joined together to provide food-bearing trees to three primary schools in Barbados: St. Lawrence Primary, Milton Lynch Primary and Christ Church Girls Primary. Over 20 Sandals volunteers joined Sandra to help with the event. This is the first step toward a launch of a school distribution program that will hopefully reach over 100 primary schools in Barbados.  

To learn more about the Earth Day event, click here. Stay tuned for exciting updates about this upcoming program!

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Trees That Feed Heroes: The Gordons

Gordons2This amazing couple leads the Jeffrey Town Famers Association (JTFA), a key partner of Trees That Feed Foundation’s. They have been dedicated to Jeffrey Town since moving back to Wordsworth’s hometown almost two decades ago.  Wordsworth, who is known as Joe, left Jamaica as a teenager after WWII. Along with thousands of other Jamaicans, he sought factory work in England.  While there, he met Ivy. Ivy grew up in England and was teaching home economics when she met Joe.

Today, Joe is JTFA President. He serves as JTFA’s leader and inspiration, focusing on organic farming and sustainability. Ivy Gordon recently retired from teaching food and nutrition, heading the home economics department at Guy’s Hill High School.  She began community development work in 1995 when she joined JTFA.  Currently she edits the Jeffrey Town Bulletin and writes blogs, grants, and books.  Ivy also leads workshops with farmers on a wide variety of environmental issues.

Located in rural northeastern Jamaica, the JTFA operates a community radio station 16 hours a day through volunteer efforts. JTFA’s mission is to harness all available assistance for community development using agriculture as the platform to sustainably develop human and physical resources. Jeffrey Town boasts solar powered systems, gabion basket retaining walls to combat soil erosion, an internet hot spot with free access and group chicken raising.  (AND they host the St. Mary Breadfruit Festival!)

Together, this dynamic team has made Jeffrey Town a model for community development.  They won the Michael Manley Award for Community Self-Reliance in 2006 and 2011, the award for best radio story at the CARDI/CTA Caribbean Media Awards 2012, and the United Nations Development Programme Equator Prize in 2014.  Our heroes, Joe and Ivy Gordon, go above and beyond!  Thank youfor planting trees and promoting breadfruit flour with TTFF!

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