Friday, July 19, 2013

Economic Pizza Presentation

Yap Catholic High School is hosting two weeks of summer school presentations - today Yap Fusion delivered two healthy and economically educational pizzas.

The students were introduced to Yap Fusion and the array of easy to make, tasty and seasonal local recipes growing in their backyards.

The concept of local food choices, economic benefits and a healthy lifestyle went over easily with the freshman through senior year students.

Part of the presentation included an interactive working sample of personal consumption choices.

Students were asked to choose from several imported and local food options and explain why they chose what they did.

Canned tuna, ramen, eggplant or taro... coconut or Coke. Students voted with money.

Surprisingly most students chose the Taro over all available options, only a couple of them went with the Kimchi ramen pack.

Those who chose Taro said it was free, healthy and tasted good. The ramen choosers went with the noodle pack for its saltiness, convenience and easy preparation.

Then came the pizza. 

Pizza that grows on trees with stronger nutritional facts than most packaged foods labeled "Organic".

Preparing breadfruit pizza dough can be explained in 4 minutes, which is about how long it took for the classes to sample two large eggplant pizzas.

Smiles, thumbs up and laughter accompanied the afternoon snack.

Yap Fusion is part of a state-wide initiative to preserve Yapese culture and traditional heritage. 

Elizabeth Phal presented other local projects that aim at a healthier, more economically sound Yap.

She expressed the importance of Yapese cultural preservation, along with healthy lifestyle and consumption choices.

The students expressed appreciation for the information, hooted and hollered about the taste of the pizza and were happy to learn that a Yap Fusion R&D kitchen is being built and workshops will soon be available to prepare Yap Fusion recipes at home.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Teaching Health and Economic Values

Gagil elementary school hosted their first health fair teaching the children about personal care, physical activity and healthy lifestyles with a local food focus. Yap Fusion was invited to present their food concept.

 Leona, "Lei" spoke to the classes and presented the day's event.

She engaged the children with an interactive speech and when she asked how many of them like pizza, pasta and imported flavor all of the students raised their hands with a smile on their face.

We already know that everybody likes pizza - today the kids learned about a healthy alternative.

The kid's were introduced to Yap Fusion's "local pizza" and the concept of fusion food products made from local ingredients as an alternative to junk food - pizza that grows on trees.

All of the food presented was 100% local with the exception of the breadfruit and yam pizzas, which are made with about 10% imported ingredients.

The children were served a slice of "Yap Pizza" from a colorful buffet of healthy local food teaching them responsible consumption choices that taste good and create a brighter future for Yap.

This event was the sum of several organization's efforts, that include the Wa'ab community health center, Gagil sports counsel, the Gagil community health center and Yap Nutrition Counsel.

The women from Gagil village also contributed food and their time to sponsor this event.

Yap has four municipal health centers that are now mobilizing to make these events a regular practice.

The children were given samples of about twelve different local food options from fruit, to salad and soup.

These kids had the same smile on their face that a different slice of pizza and a can of soda would bring, without the health and economic consequences.

Good food that reinforces sustainable lifestyle choices.
The economic benefits of eating local would be a little over the head's of these classes, however it is being introduced as a concept that helps the island's future.

Both yap and breadfruit pizzas were made for the event showing that the concept is seasonal.

There's never left-over Yap Pizza, the compliment is in the aftermath, all that's left to do is the dishes.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pizza that grows on trees

Pizza that you can grow in your backyard with more health benefits than bananas. Sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. 

Breadfruit is low-fat, energy rich and grows easily in tropical climates.

Healthy Pizza

One serving of it has almost half of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C, more potassium than a banana, some anti-oxidants, a moderate amount of essential vitamins and minerals, can help reduce obesity, lower blood pressure and ward off cancer causing chemicals in the body.

Along with the health benefits of breadfruit, it makes awesome pizza.

Today we're exploring how easy it is to make healthy food that not only works well in your body, but nurtures local economy, points consumption choices toward sustainability and creates the opportunity for a local food industry.

Another Breadfruit fact: in Yap, it is second only to coconuts for falling from trees and smashing car windshields and rooftops.

Harvesting the fruit and preserving it from being damaged in the process is a two-person job. One is the cutter and the other is the catcher. A long stick with a blade attached cuts the fruit from its branch, and it can fall from over 20 feet, one lucky individual is tasked with getting a hand-made coconut leaves basket underneath it before it hits the ground and goes omnidirectional.

There's more than one kind of breadfruit, each one with its own density and personality. Boiled, peeled, then pounded, or passed through a food mill, creates the base. With some water, salt, yeast and a bit of flour (max 2%) to get rid of the stickiness the breadfruit turns into ready-to-bake pizza dough.

The complete recipe works for both Yam or Breadfruit, however the breadfruit requires less flour, giving it the advantage when it comes to health and lowering dependency on imported products.

Creating Opportunities

Local food isn't easy, first it must be harvested, cooked and peeled, then processed into fusion products... and finally prepared to eat.

That is either a lot of work for one person, or an opportunity for local businesses to create a local food industry and supply chain: from harvesting, to making breadfruit flour, to produce semi-added value products like dough, and finally to process the final product: breadfruit pizza.

Harvesting and selling local foods is already being done, the processing into ready-to-use and final products is a gap that can be filled by local entrepreneurs.

With ready-to-bake pizza ingredients in local stores, the preparation time barely exceeds that of making Ramen and canned meat for several people, at the roughly the same cost - however the health and economic benefits go through the roof in favor of the pizza.

Growing a Healthy Economy

People could spend the same amount of time and money preparing a better tasting and healthier meal that the whole family loves that is also good for Yap's future.

When you purchase packaged and canned food your money leaves the island and supports a global corporation that results in cheaper, unhealthy and more shelf stabilized products showing up that keep us in the same consumption and economic cycle.

When you purchase a local food product your money stays on the island and goes to the family business who made up part of Yap's food industry.

Consumption choices that lead to a healthier future for Yap and that could serve as a model for the rest of the world.

Breadfruit pizza dough can be stored for 1-2 days without refrigeration, up two 2 weeks in a freezer and left-over pizza is just as good as the first day. 

With the ingredients ready to go, pizza preparation is a matter of chopping toppings and spreading the dough into a pan. These pizzas had pork, eggplant, onion, local chili and bell peppers as well as mozzarella cheese, and cooked in 25 minutes. 

Healthy local food so easy to prepare that even a blogger can do it made from less than 10% imported ingredients.

Alex Raimon and family provided the breadfruit from their property in Tomil and Yap Fusion presented the final product with them at their home.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Intangible Cultural Heritage Workshop

Yap Fusion as Creativity within the Continuity of Tradition 

From the 26 to the 28 of March, the State of Yap hosted the very first UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Awareness Raising Workshop. 

As Dr. Akatsuki Takahashi, a Culture Program Specialist from UNESCO Samoa that facilitated the workshop said, "ICH is about continuity and creativity", and it is to represent this continuity of local produce and creativity of innovative practices that Yap Fusion has been invited to give a presentation of its work during the workshop under funding for innovative added value products provided by the FSM National Congress for States Trade Fair Events.

ICH is defined by the 2003 ICH Convention as follows: 

"The “intangible cultural heritage” means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity."

For the ICH Workshop Yap Fusion launched a new product: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Pasta with local Cherry Tomatoes grown and donated by the College Of Micronesia Land Grant.

The product was carefully prepared and served on local leaves to emphasize Yap Fusion's sustainability message.

More than 50 servings were prepared to provide samples of the new product to the workshop participants. Additionally, through Facebook and Twitter the general public was invited to taste their new local food product.

Before serving the pasta samples to the Workshop's participants, Founder, Linda Germanis, gave a brief presentation about her Concept and passed out a flyer.

The presentation touched on Yap Fusion origin, strategy and products, but mainly addressed how this is an expression of ICH;

"The Continuity of traditional products & the creativity of sustainable practices that ensure the physical, economic and environmental wellbeing of individuals and communities", said Linda Germanis.

After the presentation, Yap Fusion left the participants the task to finally taste and evaluate the launch of local pasta.

Yap Fusion continues to demonstrate traction as a food security concept and the flavor is welcomed to the extent that catering contracts are being awarded for other government and traditional functions.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Promoting Local Food in Community Schools

The Taste of Future Generations

Yap's Gilman Community School hosts an annual food exhibition and tasting contest showcasing local recipes while promoting healthy consumption choices.

Children participate by competing against each other as classes presenting prepared local dishes and deserts.

Yap Fusion was invited via the YWA to present their Yam Pizza.

School principal and community leader, Andrew Flagrong, gathered the children to kick off this year's event and introduced Linda Germanis, UNV Yap Fusion Founder, to the classes.

Linda spoke about local food choices as well as the health and economic benefits before introducing her local "Yap Pizza" concept.

With the formalities complete, it was time to line up and make the rounds tasting up to 25 different local food presentations.

At each classroom presentation a menu, the recipe as well as the local ingredient names in English  and Yapese were on display with the dishes.

Gilman has, so far, the only community school that organizes a local food event.

These events raise awareness on personal health, local production and teach recipes that bring traditional values back into the house and support the family.

Each student has a designated patch of the school's garden to grow produce and are taught how to plant and harvest food as part of the formal curriculum throughout the year.

Along with food security and personal health, students of Gilman learn traditional building, craft making, weaving, dance, gardening and cooking in addition to their general education.

Yap Fusion's local pizza was being served in the outdoor Koyeng - local hut - along with an array of local fruit and side dishes.

Six pizzas were prepared that had either eggplant and tomato or pork and onion toppings.

Local tea leaves were used to serve as plates to reinforce Yap Fusion's sustainability message.

Everybody likes pizza and today the children tasted pizza that was grown in their own backyard.

Over 60 slices were served to the classes that demonstrated healthy, environmental and economic choices that taste good and have a positive impact on their community.

Following up on the successful food security demonstration, Andrew Flagrong called to thank Linda and Yap Fusion for participating in this year's local food exhibition, and an upcoming cooking seminar is being jointly organized to teach the kids how to prepare Yam Pizza.

Coming Soon...

Yap Fusion will be hosting workshops where you can learn how to prepare the recipes, food processing, packaging and eventually, marketing and exporting. The dates are tentatively the end of April and it will be held at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) conference rooms. Stay connected with facebook, twitter or check back on our blog for updates.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Yap Pizza on Yap Day

Yap Day 2013 Food Security, Local Economy and Community Health Project

Pizza (and volunteerism) that could inspire change

Yap Fusion introduced itself with 6 varieties of pizza and 2 kinds of pie... made mostly with ingredients grown in your backyard.

Island ingredients in classic recipes that are good for your heart, your wallet and an economic and environmental future of Yap's community.

This is how hundreds of slices of pizza were made  for Yap Day and help kick off more healthy and sustainable local projects.

Yap Fusion is a free concept started from the raw desire to inspire people and empower change starting from small passionate volunteer initiatives.

Every local food choice means less dependence on imported goods, less consumption of unhealthy packaged products and fueling a positive local economic cycle.

Fusion is the process of combining two or more different things into a new whole.

YWA Support

Volunteers of the Yap Women Assosiation (YWA) and their families cooked taro, yam and sweet potatoes to make the pizzas - helping peeling and steaming vegetables until midnight in preparation for the Yap Day production.

Meanwhile, over in Kadai, Linda's kitchen - the UN Volunteer founder of Yap Fusion - was the all-night sight of the pizza dough and topping preparation.

Until there's a dedicated kitchen for local food R&D, the initiative is riding on volunteerism, these pizzas were born from three kitchens.

Starting out down south on traditional outdoor stoves, then over to Linda's in Kadai, then the final product was carried out of the Manta Ray Bay manager apartment oven.

Both days had Yap Fusion's friends standing oven watch and delivering hot food to the Yap Day booth.

The effort to bring the first slice of pizza and pie to Yap Day was the sum of 14 different people's actions.

The Outcome

Everybody loves pizza. The food was a hit with locals, ex-pats as well as tourists.

Each slice was served on a leaf to reduce plastic consumption and waste.

By the end of the Yap Day celebration the demand for local fusion food was heard - hundreds of slices of pizza and pie were sold.

All of this was a personal investment with volunteer labor and contributed local food.

The project creates a healthy local model for food production and a platform to grow from.

Yap Fusion Founder: Linda Germanis, UNV

Linda is a developmental economist working with Yap state government through the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) agency.

In her spare time she created a food concept that is a realistic and sustainable alternative that is good for Yap, its economy and future.

There's an opportunity for people to make these recipes themselves, create healthy local food businesses and participate in sustainability from your own home.

Recipes, workshops and support are free for anyone interested in making healthy good food.

Get Involved

There's a lot of things that could happen; people can make awesome food at home that's good for all of us, be the first ethical corporation on island and pizzeria or have a home-based biz filling orders for ingredients and pre-preparation.

Recipes are free and available here for all Yap Fusion local food concepts.

Let us know what you think:

What's Next?

Yap Fusion salads, sweet potato gnocci, pumpkin desert ice cream substitute and possibly a Tuba cocktail... 100% local and semi-local fusion creativity that addresses food security, economics, health and strengthens community.