The Upscale, Plant-Based, Farm-to-Table Restaurant Spreading Jamaican Ital

Stush in the Bush offers an authentic farm-to-table, plant-based experience
Stush in the Bush offers an authentic farm-to-table, plant-based experience | © Lola Méndez
Lola Mendez

Free Hill in St Ann Parish, Jamaica, is seeing a steady stream of local and foreign foodies coming to taste the wondrous plant-forward food at Stush in the Bush.

Jamaica may be known for jerk chicken, but the island has an ample presence of vegan dishes as well, thanks to the Rastafarian community, which practices a diet known as Ital. Rastafarians believe in nonviolence, which extends to the way they eat; Ital food comes directly from the earth and is free of any animal products. Lisa and Chris Binns of Stush in the Bush have incorporated traditional Ital staples, such as breadfruit, coconut and plantain, into their meals at their mountaintop eatery. “Rastafari Ital is a way of life that’s conscious of the equitable exchange between humans and nature. It’s rooted in the idea that we are one with nature, are its protectors and have an abundance of everything to survive and live,” says Chris.

As a Rastafarian, Chris Binns believes a vegan Ital diet is good for the planet and the body

Chris stopped eating meat 25 years ago and, in recent years, adopted a vegan diet after embracing Rastafarianism. The duo met when Lisa, a Bajan who grew up in the US, was vacationing in Jamrock a decade ago. Chris is a bushman and farmer from the countryside, which is colloquially called the Bush. Lisa is a little bit fancy and represents Stush, a Jamaican patois term for a posh woman. She joined him on the land where he grew up to reconnect with nature. As they tended to the land to grow their own produce, they realized they wanted to show their community how tasty plant-based cuisine could be. So, they opened up a restaurant serving food directly out of their kitchen.

Stush in the Bush is sustainable tourism at its best. The restaurant is as off-grid and eco-friendly as possible with unpainted aluminum siding, rainwater collection for the community (it doesn’t have piped water) and electricity sourced from nine solar panels. “We have a great appreciation for the ebb and flow of nature, rain for water, sunlight for power,” says Chris.

Lisa Binns bring her posh ‘stush’ background to an organic and natural ‘bush’ setting

The afternoon I visit their oasis is a balmy summer one. The rustic open-air dining room that Chris built feels immediately like home. Indeed, the Binns live on the 15-acre (six-hectare) organic Zionites Farm and interject their intoxicating love for the planet, produce and each other into every nook and cranny. Even wilted hibiscus flowers from the national blue mahoe tree that have naturally fallen seem vibrant as Chris gently rolls the petals through his fingers and says the tree’s leaves look like hearts.

He has sage wisdom to share about the surrounding nature. Chris displays Jamaican black castor beans, which grow wild on the farm, and reminisces that as a child he was given them as a laxative when he had an upset stomach.

Food in Jamaica has been used for healing for centuries, and the couple wants to return to those roots

“Growing up in Jamaica, the Bush was our pharmacy,” says Chris. “With the knowledge passed down through generations, you knew instinctively what to do when a particular health issue arose. The feva grass, lemongrass, is good for fever, colds, congestion and bronchial issues. It can be used in teas, cooked in food and made into tinctures and essential oils for different applications.”

Abandoning my sandals (along with some of my stush thoughts), I join Chris for a barefoot walk through his food forest. Chris has been walking his ancestral land barefoot since he was a child. He believes his family has resided here for at least eight generations and feels as rooted to the land as the trees in the area. Such a connection to the planet is an integral part of his restaurant.

Stush in the Bush is as sustainable as possible, with solar panels and systems to collect rainwater

Stush in the Bush is dedicated to seasonal and locavore eating. Most ingredients come from the farm, except for oyster mushrooms from Jamaica Mushroom Growers. Chris cultivates an assortment of fruit trees, including banana, mango, passion fruit and mulberry. Baby arugula, carrots, kale, cilantro, basil, parsley and edible flowers grow in the nutrient-rich soil. Meanwhile, a curtain of drying cannabis sways in the gentle wind.

Stush in the Bush is an authentic farm-to-table experience. As we walk, Chris picks garnishes for Lisa’s farm-fresh dishes. “Plant-based living is regenerative, sustainable, sexy and healthy,” he says. “Most of all, it’s important our food be made with love. Great, healthy ingredients, produced in clean, healthy environments, will certainly produce high-vibration foods.”

The couple highlights the bounty of nature with their farm-to-table food

The resulting appetizers are stunning as well as flavorful. There are crispy plantain and breadfruit chips for dipping in smashed guacamole, fruit ceviche, chimichurri and more. Free-flowing juices are just sweet enough to offset Lisa’s spicy signature Blow Fyah scotch bonnet pepper sauce.

Next up is a fire-grilled pizza with homemade vegan cheese. Fluffy pizza dough is dressed with tomato sauce made from scratch, basil pesto and garden-fresh vegetables. Later, we’re served delectable cake and beignets.

Lisa uses simple ingredients to create innovative dishes that are anything but basic. She proves that eating plants can be exciting and flavorful. She comes up with the seasonal dishes based on what’s growing on the farm and consulting with her five cooks.

“Nature is beautiful in everything she does – without effort,” says Chris. With so much bounty directly from the earth, the secret to Stush in Bush’s success is simple: fresh is best.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.