Archive for Cool Stuff

#BuyJamaican #EatJamaican – The Way Forward?

// June 20th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Environment, Life

Hey everyone, my good friend Kathryn Chin See wrote this guest post, give it a read and comment below:

“I want to #eatJamaican” was the opening line of a conversation that led to this post. Dmitri decided that he wanted to create a meal plan for 30 days that would include only Jamaican grown livestock and crops (see his previous post – Eat Jamaican for 30 Days). I told him that this was an easy task and began to list out the things that were available to us, grown locally. I shared my experience of buying a great quantity of fruits and vegetables from the Coronation Market in Downtown, Kingston, how inexpensive it was… and the fact that Jamaica really has no reason to import food items. His response was “well, let’s prove it”…

Jamaica has been blessed with vast land space and fertile soil with which we may grow and harvest crops, and raise livestock as food. Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish and seafood of many types… Fruits, vegetables/ground provisions, including nuts, herbs and spices… all grown right here in Jamaica, available to us all on the local market. So… the question is – why do we import food items?

To this day, it still baffles me… WHY does Jamaica import bananas? …bananas? REALLY THOUGH?

Some will use the excuse that local farmers are unable to supply enough to satisfy local demand, others may tell you that the imported goods are of a better quality. While these arguments may hold some truth, the reality is that we are greatly influenced by what First World cultures do, and because North America eats strawberries, blueberries, cottage cheese, Hillshire Farms deli meat and all sorts of other things… we have to ‘keep up with the Jones’.

Buying locally gives farmers the opportunity to make a larger profit to invest in more land, machinery and labour to produce larger volumes for the local market. The colloquial phrase ‘one hand wash the other’ comes into play here – consumers demand more from local farmers (increase purchases), local farmers then need more resources to supply increased demand, more jobs are created as labour is needed, these newly hired labourers take away from the unemployment rate and contribute to the circular flow of income in the country – everybody benefits, TRUST ME!

How are we going to then ensure that local farmers get more business, since their biggest competitors are imports? If the government banned (*not taxed higher, but made illegal) the importation of goods that are grown/produced locally, then people would stop trying to live above their means and would be forced to #buyJamaican. Think about the money you would save buying

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locally, not having to pay the import duties and taxes that are tacked onto those goods, and how much healthier you would be by not consuming the chemicals and preservatives if you #eatJamaican.

There’s also an economic benefit to #buyJamaican #eatJamaican – in this time of ‘recession’ or economic struggle in Jamaica, great effort should be places of increasing exports, decreasing imports and encouraging investments from foreign entities to decrease our trade deficit (Balance of Trade – the monetary difference between imports and exports, essentially). Over time, ceasing importation of food items, and increasing exports of local produce, will aid in achieving a trade surplus and give the country the ability to pay its debts without burdening tax payers greatly… essentially working towards economic growth.

No, it’s not just theoretical – putting it into practice will work. But, who is going to implement such a practice?

Where is the labour force going to come from to practice farming?

People put themselves in debt constantly because of university fees, because society now dictates that we all need to achieve a higher learning – associate, bachelors, and master’s degrees. Why? North American and European influence of course… again, we all have to ‘keep up with the Jones’. Nothing wrong with achieving higher learning, but what benefit is it to you or to your country if there are no jobs for you to put your degree to use, no way of earning the money to pay your student loan?

Every industry has its place in this country – banking, manufacturing, telecommunications, farming, tourism, you name it…but we need to strike a balance between industrial and corporate, allocating our human resources appropriately to the various industries that make up our economic activities. If everybody’s a doctor, a lawyer, a banker or the IT guy, who is going to grow/produce the food we need to sustain our bodies for those jobs?

We can’t all be corporate and that’s the reality.

An education is vital. I believe that all Jamaican should have access to primary and secondary (including 6th form/CAPE) education. However, university/tertiary education requires a certain level of mental and financial preparedness that many of us simply don’t have. As a result, I think half of the experience is wasted. Just because we complete the 3-4 year programme and graduate with a degree, to me, doesn’t mean that we received all that we were intended to take from the experience.

Honestly, I have no problem putting my Actuarial Science degree programme on hold, going to Clarendon, getting a piece of land and establish a farm on it, and learn those skills – learn about soil and irrigation, climate/environment control for optimized growth, operation, maintenance and repair of equipment, etc. – grow food for my family, my community and eventually the wider local market, until I can produce large enough volumes to supply the acheter cialis generique en belgique export market.

All those things require knowledge and skill, and human resource. Jamaica is full of employment opportunities, way and means of earning an honest living – but everyone wants to be a suit and tie.

Help your pockets. Help your health. Help Farmer Joe in St. Bess. Help Jamaica…

#buyJamaican #eatJamaican

Kathryn can be contacted on Twitter: @KathrynChinSee or via email KathrynChinSee (at) Gmail.com

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Eating Jamaican for 30 Days

// June 19th, 2012 // 4 Comments » // Cool Stuff, Environment, Life

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serious thought into how much of our every day foods we import. Surprisingly my day to day diet incorporates a wide range of imported products. I would like to eat more Jamaican. This does not necessarily mean Jamaican style recipes, after all our famed ackee and saltfish uses imported fish. However I mean consume only locally grown foods. I think imported seasoning and spices are ok though.

Based on this I will have to exclude some items, such as flour and it’s byproducts, rice, maybe even cheese. I will try to document it as much as possible.

In the interim, does anyone have meal ideas? Please be as detailed as possible, I’m not exactly a chef who can fill in the blanks.

Thanks for the recipes!

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For all us non coders

// April 11th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Technology, Tools

So I got an idea this evening and rather than the usual process of =>mind map => wire frame => call developer, I

instead decided to try and build a utilitarian

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version of it first. I love WordPress, it always works for me so I looked for a plugin that would help me make this app.

I found this:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/db-toolkit/

Love it so far, but the learning curve is steep. It allows you to create interfaces, where you can view or input data from a DataBase. It’s all customisable by themes and CSS. It allows you to build apps in WordPress for WordPress as custom menus and widgets. Can even use short codes to include the app in posts or pages. It also supports pulling data from API’s and allows you additional functionality by your OWN API!!!

I hope this helps.

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St. Elizabeth, the renewable energy parish?

// March 14th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Environment

Just saw this news from Solar Buzz Jamaica:

JPS will launch the project for the construction of  its multi-billion dollar Maggotty Hydroelectric Power Plant in St. Elizabeth on Thursday March 15.

The hydroelectric project, expected to cost 26 million US dollars, is the biggest to be undertaken in Jamaica in nearly 50 years.

JPS already has a hydro-plant at Maggotty which provides roughly 6 megawatts of  electricity.

The new power plant, will add another 6.3 megawatts to the national grid and employ 100 persons during the construction phase.

I think the original source was RJR news.

This is good though, St. Elizabeth already has wind farms producing renewable energy. Since the decline of bauxite mining, does this mean St. Elizabeth will now become the farming and renewable energy capital of the island?

Cool Stuff!

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Updates Updates!

// March 12th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cool Stuff, Dmitri's racing news, Life, Technology

So this blog has pretty much been a ghost town for a while. That’s both good and bad. Good because I have been too busy to update it. Bad because I have been too busy to update it.

What’s new?

Well several things. This should probably be broken into several posts but……. well maybe I will do that later.

In January we successfully had Slash Roots Developers Conference, which is also the Developing Caribbean Open Data Conference. This was held simultaneously in Jamaica, Trinidad and The Dominican Republic. Check the details at http://developingcaribbean.org Much props to the organising team and MSB for pulling off this event.

February brought many challenges. In the space of one month I lost my Grand Aunt and Grandfather. Very difficult time. I think I will have to do several posts on this. Both of them achieved great things technically and introduced technology to Jamaica. But most importantly they are family and friends.

During this process I was also reminded of the lesson to keep the balls juggling. I nearly lost a major customer due to things falling behind during this difficult time. Lesson learned. No man is an island, we all need help and we all need to appreciate those who help us. Also communication with customers is key.

March so far has been very busy, not much I can speak about due to NDA’s. However I can tell you I was invited to lecture at UTech on March 5 and 8 on innovation and how it promotes entrepreneurship. Much thanks to Lisa Shaw for inviting me, I had a blast interfacing with the third and final year students. So many students planned to start their own business and some even shared their ideas with me. Really cool stuff, right here in Jamaica. Look out world!

Big event for March so far was rolling during a rally on March 4. I was co-driving for Thomas Hall in his Toyota Starlet. Basically we went around the corner sliding a little wide, the back tyre caught a rock and we started the tumble. Thankfully we are both fine with no injuries. Thomas is trying to get the car repaired for the next event. In the mean time we have to buy new safety gear. Photo below:

Sorry about the long read. I have installed the WordPress app on my tablet. Will try doing some shorter, more frequent updates for the rest of the year. In the mean time, live long and prosper!

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