The Source Farm Ecovillage launches Sunday Dinner Project
Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
JOHN'S TOWN, St Thomas:
IN JAMAICA, the Sunday dinner is traditionally the biggest and most anticipated evening meal of the week. No one knows for certain when the weekly observance of this 'extravagant' delight started, but the best bet is in the days of slavery when enslaved Africans were allowed to have this once-a-week grand repast.
And for decades, Jamaicans have been satisfying their palates on Sundays with food that they normally do not eat during the week.
Rice and peas is invariably the food of choice, with its eternal partner, chicken. But, from time-to-time, chicken has to stay in the fridge while beef, pork, mutton, goat meat, cow foot, pig trotters, and fish take their turn titillating taste buds. For variety and embellishment, tomato, lettuce, shredded carrot and cabbage are added. To wash down all of that there are carrot, soursop, beetroot, and custard apple juices, and, to a certain extent, sugary drink mixes.
But, the Sunday dinner was not just a big meal time; it was a family social event of sort, a time when relatives and friends gather to share food, thoughts, news and humour. In many cases, it was also the only time of the week when everybody would be present for dinner at the same time because of in-the-week work and school commitments, among other things. And in the rural areas, it was not uncommon to see people taking Sunday dinner to the sick and shut in.
Yet, the Sunday dinner tradition has been waning, with the advancement of technology, the availability of a variety of dining options, and a change of social and familial ethos. This change has not gone unnoticed, and The Source Farm Foundation and Ecovillage at Oxford Road in John's Town, St Thomas, wants to bring back the love with the launch of The Sunday Dinner Project tomorrow at John's Town at about 3 p.m. under the theme, 'Strengthening Caribbean Families Through Food, Conversation and Community'.
"The objectives of The Sunday Dinner Project are to have Caribbean families, globally, sit down to food and conversations as a (re)connecting strategy for strengthening a process of caring, healing and community building," The Source Farm said, "The Sunday Dinner Project considers family meals as an excellent entry point for initiating these conversations because of their traditional role in providing not just nourishment and healing, but also for expressing appreciation for loved ones, for celebrating milestones and for building community."
The essence of the project is to bring back families to the food and discussion table, and to talk about issues, affecting them and the community while enjoying their meals. "During the sharing of the meal, families and friends will converse about important issues such as identifying the strategy for intergenerational knowledge transfer, confronting and overcoming family hurts, and mobilising family resources for social and economic development," The Source Farm told Rural Xpress. "At the same time, the project encourages the consumption of healthy indigenous foods as a strategy for improving the region's food security, reducing the high prevalence rate of chronic non-communicable diseases and increasing employment".