Bush & Water Bolsters Jamaica's Local Agriculture

The general conversations about vegans and veganism, at least in the US, Canada and U.K., have been pretty cringey but thank God for the Land of Wood and Water. When we talk vegetarian or vegan cuisine in Jamaica, one of the first thing that comes to mind is eating ital, because, of course, “ital is vital”. Eating Ital is the Rastafari sacred and spiritual diet consisting of natural, organic foods from the earth and foods that are absent of additives and preservatives (for some of its adherents, this means no dairy) as a means to promotes health, wellness and livity.

But one restaurant in Jamaica is taking vegetarian and vegan dishes and toppling it on its head, making it tun up an tun ova. Bush & Water is a Portmore-based restaurant nestled along Bayside’s coastline. The hidden culinary gem specializes in delectably fresh, vegetarian, plant-based, raw and vegan offerings sourced from local farmers and fishers. “We came up with happy, healthy eating by providing foods from Jamaica’s most natural sources of food, which is the farm and the sea,” shares Bush & Water’s founder Ileshia Williams. When Williams took meat out of her diet she lost 47 pounds and didn’t have to sacrifice her tastebuds to do so. Through Bush & Water, Williams is proving healthy food doesn’t have to be boring food.

The restaurant’s menu modernizes and localizes classic Jamaican staples, like the meatless and gluten-free “Yatty”, as well as international favourites like the plantain sushi roll offered during Restaurant Week. However, since it’s opening last year, it’s propped itself up as, not only a spot to dine, but as one that offers culinary classes, karaoke nights and Farm-to-Fork shopping, which allows interested persons to order and purchase directly from farmers.

We sat down sat down with Williams for an episode of ‘likkle bits.’ to talk about all tings Bush & Water.

Producer: Sharine Taylor
Co-Director: Sharine Taylor
Co-Director: 300
Editor: 300  
Host: Shanice Wilson
Music: Island by Jarico and Oceanside by Scandinavianz


This article is part BASHY’s 2018 Restaurant Week Jamaica coverage.