Trees That Feed Foundation

TTFF Visits Jamaican Partners

Jean-Marie Spratt and Mary
Mary examines a breadfruit tree in Jean-Marie Spratt’s agroforest.

Mary and Mike McLaughlin recently returned from a productive trip to Jamaica. Here’s a quick recap.

First came the conference of the Society of Economic Botanists (SEB) at the University of West Indies’ Mona campus, where approximately 250 experts in the field assembled and Mike presented his 2019-2020 breadfruit yield study.

There, Diane Ragone, PhD, who has been working with TTFF for a decade, was honored as SEB’s Ethnobotanist of the Year.

John Rashford, PhD, SEB’s 2019 Ethnobotanist of the Year, then led a select group through the historic botanic gardens of Jamaica. In Bath, they saw breadfruit trees that are descendants of the trees delivered from Tahiti by Captain Bligh in 1793!

The group also visited Mr. Alfred McLean’s nursery. One of our major vendors, he root cultures thousands of breadfruit tree saplings for local distribution.

In Kingston, they visited Christel House, a school to which we deliver food regularly. With them were Joseph Johnson, our Jamaica representative, as well as Patti Price, Executive Director of Buddhist Global Relief.

Planting a mango tree at Christel House
Mike (c) helping to plant a mango tree at Christel House with (l-r) CFO Rory Jack, Margaret Bernal, the groundskeeper, and Patti Price, Executive Director of Buddhist Global Relief.


Next, they visited Jean-Marie Spratt’s farm, a model of agroforestry. Mary and Mike geotagged a number of her breadfruit trees, which are five years old and 12-feet tall!

The group stopped at Eltham Gardens, Joseph Johnson’s nursery, and were treated to a master class by Rakel, one of Jamaica’s most accomplished experts in plant grafting.

Later they visited Karlene Johnson’s bakery, Something Country. She distributes her breadfruit bullas (biscuits) to schools and other entities on behalf of TTFF.

Mary visited Shavout Farms, our largest producer of breadfruit flour. She and Mike also met with Ainsley Henry, head of Jamaica’s Forestry Department; Rita Hilton, leading exporter of fruit from Jamaica to the US and Canada; Rosalea Hamilton, head of Cariphil Alliance; and a group from Brooklyn’s New Testament Temple Church of God.

Yet another highlight of Mary and Mike’s trip was their visit to Sydney Pagon STEM Academy, where work on a processing plant is underway, including eight solar dryers designed by TTFF. This project will help feed students and others in the community.

Mary and Mike returned home filled with gratitude for TTFF’s Jamaican partners and friends – and for our supporters back in the States who help us accomplish so much in that country and beyond.

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