Much has been said about the athletic prowess of Jamaicans. I could go down a list of things people have surmised about:
1. the weather
2. the water
3. the hills
…but I am here to propose that there is a direct correlation between the talent and the food…yes the food. I know you are all wondering where I am going with this.
Let’s take a serious look at where SOME of our top performing athletes are from and analyse the agricultural strength of those areas.
Jackie Pusey, Beverley McDonald are all from St. Mary; Pablo McNeill, Veronica Campbell Brown, Michael Green, Usain Bolt are all from Trelawny; we have seen what the Christiana area has produced over the last ten years in the Holmwood camp and we have a few scattered over the island.
St. Mary is the home of the best grown bananas…high in potassium and its importance to the diet is, it helps to reduce the risk of hypertension and kidney diseases. Well, what can I say about Trelawny, home of the greatest tasting yam in the world. Yam can be used to make wine, bun, cake, pudding and punch.
Let me declare that I have no scientific evidence of this correlation, however, what I can tell you is Professor Errol Morrison and Dr. Henry Lowe are working on something and I am sure they are eager to tell the world.
My thoughts may be trivial to some of you…but in light of creative tourism marketing we can make this an attraction. People all over the world, want to be Jamaican. They want to be a Jamaican who can run, play football, sing and dance. If for any reason they think that it is because of the food, they will come here to have the experience.
Like everything else though, it must be packaged. The organisers of the Trelawny Yam Festival may want to have home boy Usain endorse the festival with words like: Hi, I am Usain, Jamaican track and field star. I was born and raised in Trelawny and my diet must include Yam. If you want to run as fast as I can……”
Remember Jimmy Adams and Serge Island Milk? We must find creative ways and means to get more visitors to our island and if we believe our own stories, then others will hear it and believe it too.
If we think there is a method to our talent in sport and there is definitely a connection to be made we should make all the necessary plans to get that research going. I therefore call on the Universities of the West Indies and Technology to get the research going, so maybe in our lifetime we can know the true story.
I know my storytellers are just waiting to start writing and my filmmakers to start filming. There is a story to tell, and we need to tell it ourselves.
For all the promoters of food festivals, when you sit in your next set of planning meetings, invite one of our local scientists…you may never know what can turn up.
I want to hear from you on this one.
P.S. We can now start doing research on cassava