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According to the release, as required by Act 8404, the Agricultural Plan contains policy and funding recommendations to support and expand the local food system, to increase locally grown food production and to provide an avenue of food security in the territory.
The agricultural plan also contains short- and long- term goals, including proposals for legislative enactment.
According to the release, one of the most critical issues facing the territory is ensuring a sustainable food supply. The plan was created to foster food security and sovereignty by maximizing agricultural productivity in the territory. It was developed over a nine-month period with significant research and extensive input from the community including four town halls; focus groups and surveys of farmers, food retailers, and the general public; commissioned studies; and expert consultations. Additionally, three members of the farming community, chosen by fellow farmers, joined the task force last fall to provide their hands-on perspective and expertise.
“On behalf of all on the task force, it has been a privilege bringing the development of this Plan to fruition. Expanding and supporting agriculture is vital to the territory, and we feel strongly that the Plan provides an excellent framework for success,” said University of the Virgin Islands President Dr. David Hall, co-leader of the Agricultural Plan Task Force. “We remain at the community’s service should we be called upon by the Governor or Senate for further assistance.”
According to the release, the public Unveiling will highlight the recommendations of the task force outlined by the eight mandates of Act 8404. Farmers, stakeholders, and all members of the community are invited to join the Public Unveiling via Zoom on Monday, May 9, 2022 at 6:30 pm AST at bit.ly/AgUNVEIL or using Meeting ID: 925 7308 2082. Registration is required.
There is also limited seating available for in-person participation on St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Pre-registration and mask usage for those attending in-person is required.
The locations for in-person attendance are as follows:
- St. Croix: University of Virgin Islands, the Great Hall
- St. John: Cleone H. Creque Legislative Conference Room
- St. Thomas: University of Virgin Islands Administration & Conference Center
The members of the Agricultural Plan Task Force include co-chairs Dr. David Hall, President of the University of the Virgin Islands and Commissioner of Agriculture, Positive T.A. Nelson; Diana E. Collingwood, Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture; Hannah V. Carty, former Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture; Dr. Kendra Harris, Dean of the School of Business, University of the Virgin Islands; Dr. Usman Adamu, Dean of the School of Agriculture, University of the Virgin Islands; Harith Wickrema, President of nonprofit Island Green Living Association; Dale Browne of Sejah Farms; Royce Creque of Greenridge Guavaberry Farms; and Nate Olive, Director, Ridge to Reef Farms.