Just before the lighthouse in Negril, Jamaica you will come upon my roadside restaurant, Ras Rody Organic Sips and Bites. I have been in operation for nearly fifteen years now. My children and I serve traditional Rastafarian fare, combining the bounty of fruits and vegetables that the Jamaican sunshine bears into wholesome and nourishing meals. Fellow Rasta, ordinary Jamaicans, and visiting tourists alike share in the value of healthful eating and thoughtful discussion. I want to extend this community beyond the West End Road.This website is an open forum to discuss everything food: the dangers of the Western diet, organic farming techniques, and balanced vegetarian menus. Please join as we begin to rewrite menus that nourish bodies and build community. Stay tuned for the release of my upcoming cookbook, Ras Rody Organics: Sips, Bites, and Sweets, coming to stores soon.
My stand is a cultural center. Many people do not come for food alone, but come for the discussion to learn about the Rastafarian worldview. I use my stand as a media to educate people about the culture, about where we came from, where we are, and where we are headed.
Jamaica was under colonial rule since the arrival of Spanish settlers in the late 1400's. British forces seized control of the island in 1655. In three centuries, the British developed an agribusiness of sugarcane on the island. The relations of power that emerged with this colonial enterprise forever debilitated Jamaica. The British brought masses of Africans to service the agricultural operations. With the introduction of slaves, the profitable production of sugar expanded into a plantation culture. This culture and the discontentment it precipitated continued to loom as Jamaica neared the end of its colonial era. In this context of social turmoil in the 1930's, the Rastafarian political-religious movement was born.
PLANTATION CULTURE AND ITS DISCONTENT ORIGINATES FROM BRITISH COLONIALISM.
Rastafarians emerged in the Kingston ghettos in protest of the lingering colonial reign. The Rastafarian leaders promised an end to the oppression and suffering for the Jamaican proletariat, those who serviced the British plantations. Rastafarians did not write a rigid creed but promoted Ital living through a spiritual connection to the earth. Expelled from the cities as religious heretics and political insurgents, the Rastafarians converged in the hills of St. Catherine to pursue this Ital existence. Just as their ancestors, the Rastafarians today have convened in the hills of Jamaica to farm for subsistence.
THE RASTAFARIANS REJECTED THE IMPOSED CULTURAL ORDER AND ESTABLISHED A DISTINCT SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE.
The Rastafarians have developed a rich culture of dietary traditions and ethnomedical knowledge all steeped in ancestral tradition. The fundamental values of Ital can only be pursued in a state of harmony with nature. Rights to the land are natural rights, as the fruits that it bears are for the shared consumption of the commons. This is in sharp contrast to the legal rights of ownership prescribed in Western society. Rastafarians work tirelessly to protect the natural world in service of Mother Earth who has graced them with a replenishing food source. Cultivating familial plots of land with diverse arrangements of crops ensures the health of the soil, the same soil that nourished their forbearers and their children alike.
THE RASTAFARIANS DEVELOPED A REVERANT RELATIONSHIP WITH MOTHER NATURE AND HER SACRED BOUNTY.
Rastafarians teach sustainable farming practices that protect the health of the land while producing uncontaminated produce. The methods of farming are derived from ancient practices, using natural inputs such as cow dung and burn cane to support and protect their crops. With knowledge accrued over generations and passed through local lineages, the Rastafarians refined their agricultural wisdom. Rastafarians are opposed to using synthetic inputs in their crops as it disrupts the natural flow and earthly cycles that define organic farming seasons. Rastafarians believe that ecological awareness can rehabilitate the now-strained connection between people and the Earth.
TRADITIONAL FARMING PRACTICES INFORM CONTEMPORARY AGRICULTURAL WISDOM; BASED ON VALUES OF LOCAL, SEASONAL, ORGANIC.
Rastafarians developed cooking methods derived from traditional techniques, harvesting food from the soil and transforming it into wholesome and nourishing meals. All of the ingredients in a traditional meal have been grown in the local soil under the auspices of the Rastafarian farmers. The genius of Ital cuisine is drawing the nutritional value from the ingredients, using the roots, stems, leaves, and fruits of edible plants to create a balanced meal. Rastafarian cooks often prepare soups and stews because slow cooking over natural fires allows flavors to meld together while preserving the vitamins and minerals that would be lost with high temperature preparations. Fresh, seasonal, and local are the tenets of the Rastafarian diet. The cultivation of produce and its preparation in the meal are inseparable, founded in the same principles of natural living.
RASTAFARIAN CUISINE BUILT UPON HEALTH AND SOCIAL VALUE OF FOOD; NOURISHING BODIES AND PROMOTING COMMUNITY.
The Rastafarians have boldly disengaged from the markets that emerged with the introduction of capitalism through cane production. Diverging from these dependent networks of power, Rastafarians established resilient self-sustaining communities. Protecting this renewable asset has propagated this religious movement confined to the hills of Jamaica into the international scene. The Rastafarian practices of cooperative farming, local systems of exchange, and shared meals are all features of today's growing organic food movement. Ras Rody passionately upholds these ideals at his roadside stand in Negril, Jamaica. His recipes tell the story of the Rastafarian journey and shine light on the righteous course ahead.
TRADITIONAL RASTAFARIAN FOOD CULTURE SERVES AS A MODEL TO THE GROWING ORGANIC FOOD MOVEMENT IN THE WEST.
Ras Rody was born in New Works, Jamaica on April 19, 1960, close to the bustling southern city of Savanna La Mar. He nearly died as a young teenager from the high sugar and fat diet that was introduced to Jamaica from the globalizing Western food chain. This experience precipitated a life long journey to discover a healthy alternative to the encroaching fast food world. This journey informed a thoughtfully conceived vegetarian diet. He is yet to return to the hospital over thirty years later. He is the owner of Ras Rody Organic Sips and Bites on the West End Road in Negril where he shares this enlightened lifestyle with an eclectic caste of patrons. Rody is a successful organic farmer, roadside philosopher, and vegan chef.
Phone - 876.283.8650
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog - Ras Rody Organics