The nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen provides direct financial support through grants as well as training and volunteer opportunities to agribusinesses aiming to revitalize the islands’ food economy
The organization announced the latest recipients of its second round of grants in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). 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 territory.
The newest members of WCK’s Food Producer Network 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.
Food Producer Network 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. World Central Kitchen also offers access to technical training to improve food production, workshops building business skills to increase sales and expand markets, and volunteer programs in which locals or visitors 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.
World Central Kitchen’s Food Producer Network was established in Puerto Rico in 2018 in response to the 2017 hurricanes that devasted the island; it has since awarded over $2.8 million in grants to food producers affected by natural disasters in the Caribbean and Latin America. In 2020, after much success in Puerto Rico, the program expanded its efforts in the USVI, The Bahamas and Guatemala, and it 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.