World Central Kitchen (WCK) announced Friday the latest recipients of its second round of grants in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its Food Producer Network (formerly known as Plow to Plate), the organization offers direct financial support to small farmers, fishers, and agribusinesses to support the revitalization and regeneration of the production, distribution, and sale of locally sourced foods, with the goal of lowering the high rate of food imports in the USVI.
The newest members of WCK’s Food Producer Network (FPN) are ARTFarm, Badeau Farm, GLG Plants and Produce, Strictly Roots, VI Wildflower Honey and Syotos Fishing on St Croix, as well as We Grow Food, Inc. and Captain CC’s Fresh Catch on St. Thomas, according to the release.
The release states that FPN grants are used to fund extraordinary capital investments, such as in tractors, ice machines, walk-in freezers, irrigation systems, engines, and other similar equipment or infrastructure. WCK also said it offers access to technical training to improve food production, workshops building business skills to increase sales and expand markets, as well as a volunteer program in which locals and visitors alike may contribute community service hours on partner farms.
“We are proud to continue this effort for the benefit of small food producers--they inspire and encourage us through their determination and perseverance. Our goal is to help them invigorate their operations and increase their resilience, which in the long run we hope will increase Virgin Islanders’ access to local food products,” said Mikol Hoffman, Food Producer Network director.
WCK’s Food Producer Network was established in Puerto Rico in 2018 in response to the 2017 hurricanes that devasted the island and has since awarded over $2.8 million in grants to food producers affected by natural disasters the Caribbean and Latin America, according to the release. In 2020, after much success in Puerto Rico, the program expanded its efforts in the USVI, The Bahamas and Guatemala and continues working to support food security throughout the region.
World Central Kitchen calls for applications to the Food Producer Network every six months, with the next application round opening in the Spring of 2021. For more information, go here.