Hello! My name is Peter Ivey, and I am the founder of The League of International Chefs Association and Mission:FoodPossible (M:FP). Over the past 5 years we have been working hard to eradicate hunger and food insecurity in Jamaica. This year we are in the parish of Westmoreland and we need your help to train the canteen staff of 5 schools in Westmoreland to cook creative, healthy, low cost meals with our local indigenous crops.
Please read more about our work below!
Data from a recent report by the United Nations indicated that approximately 2.37 billion people worldwide are without food or unable to eat a healthy balanced diet on a regular basis. From 2019-2020, the number of people suffering from hunger in the Latin American and Caribbean Region increased by 13.8 million. According to Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, “COVID-19 has made a pre-existing malnutrition crisis worse. With services disrupted and livelihoods devastated, families are finding it harder to put healthy food on the table…for children to grow up healthy, we need to ensure all families access to affordable, nutritious food.” Although the pandemic has exacerbated the situation, hunger has been on the rise since 2014 with an almost 79 percent hike in the number of people facing food insecurity. In response to those statistics, Mission:FoodPossible (M:FP) designed a community program to combat global hunger, promote food security and reduce food waste.
Mission:FoodPossible | Training
Mission:FoodPossible is a recognized Jamaican charity dedicated to the eradication of hunger and food insecurity. For the past five years, our comprehensive two-day training has trained, empowered, and sustained the community by utilizing our Most Valuable Produce (MVP) scoring tool to assess a region’s produce to best support food security. The first day focuses on theory—thoughts and ideas about food insecurity, hunger, access to nutritious food, identifying a community’s MVPs, and recipe creation. The second day focuses on practice—the application of what participants learned including, knife skills, various cooking techniques, and utilizing MVPs in creative dishes. All participants who successfully complete the training receive certificates of achievement. Because M:FP is grounded in utilizing local produce, farmers, chefs, and local markets all play an integral role in the program’s success.
Mission:FoodPossible | Why Jamaica?
In the Caribbean, severe food insecurity was highest in Haiti followed by Jamaica. In a 2017 study, Smith and colleagues asserted that there is a need to shift focus from short-term efforts to long-term efforts with very targeted interventions. They argued that the key policies to address food insecurity in the region “…are to expand programs for vulnerable individuals [and] invest in the education and skills of the food insecure…” Given the M:FP team’s Jamaican roots and access to Jamaica, the decision was made to launch M:FP in one parish and, after evaluation, determine how the project could be scaled up and utilized in other parishes across the island and, ultimately, the region. All trainings have been held in October to commemorate World Food Day and M:FP’s commitment to ensuring food security. In 2019, Forbes Magazine said Mission:FoodPossible might be the answer to the world’s hunger crisis.
Mission:FoodPossible | Impact
Since our inception, we have partnered with five schools (St. John’s Primary School, St. Catherine; Buff Bay Primary School, Skibo Primary School, Charles Town Primary School, and Bybrook Primary School, Portland) and trained 34 canteen staff, teachers and parents. Because of M:FP’s educational component, community participants have learned about the importance of food security in Jamaica and the Caribbean region, have benefited from our innovative program, and/or eaten creative dishes using indigenous foods. Some community members have utilized the education provided to maximize the use of local produce to reduce food insecurity. In subsequent conversations with St. John’s Primary School personnel, we learned that canteen staff utilized cooking techniques learned in the training, which extended the life of some of the foods they cooked with. It was also reported that the attendance and academic performance of students who participated in the school meal programme improved. Although the global pandemic halted our in-person trainings, we remained committed to our mission and hosted virtual and other types of programming. Through our in-person and/or virtual programming participation, we have positively impacted over 11,000 people; an international virtual food security “relay” that we participated in garnered over 2 million views.
Mission:FoodPossible | World Food Day 2022
Given the disastrous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, M:FP plans to host Healing Our Community, Leaving No One Behind—a 3 day in-person commemoration of World Food Day focused on healing our community. Community healing calls for a restructuring of our priorities, resources, and investment to enrich the conditions that create wellness and health in communities of color. With M:FP’s focus on agriculture and eating what we grow, we are hosting our 2022 training and community program in Westmoreland because of its agricultural output, history and lush vegetation. As done in the past, we are partnering with primary schools in the Westmoreland area. The training and community program will take place October 13, 2022-October 15, 2022.
Thank you for accepting the Mission!