The Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) recently hosted its inaugural Food Preservation & Food Safety Virtual Workshop. The two-day event saw almost two hundred participants zoom in from across the Bahamas and around the world to learn from food safety and food preservation experts.
Point person for the educational initiative Alaasis Braynen, General Manager of BAMSI, said the free workshop, which was initially meant for staff of the Institute, was proposed to add value to production. The goal, he said, was to penetrate markets and improve food security and the process includes sauces, paste, jams, etc. This is also another way to add value to fruits and vegetables that were either below commercial grade or redirect the excess produce the fresh market was unable to absorb.
He further credited BAMSI team members Public Relations Officer Antonique Sands and Research and Development Officer Georgette Gray for being instrumental in planning the workshop.
With the expansion of the workshop to members of the Farmers Voice group however, which BAMSI created in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, agriculturalists, backyard farmers, educators, agriculture students and even foodies were able to learn how to properly store and preserve produce for home use and for entrepreneurial ventures.
On hand for the opening of the workshop was Dr. Patricia Johnson, Director of Food Safety & Quality, with the Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA), who discussed ‘General Food Safety Practices’, along with ‘Hygiene Practices’. She was joined by her colleague, Kimberly Trowers, Inspection Coordinator and BAMSI Lecturer Diane Brown who walked participants through ‘Preservation by
BAMSI President, Senator, the Hon. Dr Erecia Hepburn was also on hand to answer questions. Day two of the workshop took place at the Gladstone Road Agricultural Complex (GRAC) where BAMSI staff members were able to take part in a tomato processing class lead by Keith Daley, Senior Food Technologist with the Department of Agriculture (DOA) and Bernard Clarke, Food Technologist, DOA. Other participants were able to access this session via zoom.
Mr Daley, who explained the technical aspects of food preservation, showed the class five methods of preserving tomatoes, including paste, whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, diced and puréed. At the end of the day the BAMSI team walked away with rich harvest of safely preserved tomato products.
Based on the level of interest in the Food Preservation & Food Safety Virtual Workshop, the Institute is looking at hosting a regular series of free seminars covering various aspects of the agriculture industry and farming. For more information on future workshops or to be a part of BAMSI’s Farmers Voice programme email: farmers- firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242.397.6580.