Agricultural Plan Task Force Announces Food Security Town Halls Events to Gather Input from Farmers & Stakeholders to Formulate Aid

May 7, 2021, US Virgin Islands – One of the most critical issues facing the world today, and the territory in particular, is ensuring a sustainable food supply. In order to increase the territory’s sustainability and become more self-reliant, three town hall meetings have been announced on St. John (May 17), St. Croix (May 19) and St. Thomas (June 3) to gather input from farmers and other stakeholders regarding what governmental tools and support would assist them in increasing yield and quality of food production. Pursuant to Act 8404 signed into law on December 11, 2020, the Commissioner of Agriculture and the President of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) have been charged with creating an Agricultural Plan for the Virgin Islands and have convened an Agricultural Plan Task Force. These town halls, in addition to surveys, focus groups and other research, will assist the Agricultural Plan Task Force in formulating a comprehensive plan and budget recommendations. Input from the public, especially those engaged in the agriculture industry, is vital.

In a joint statement, UVI President David Hall and Commissioner of Agriculture Positive T. A. Nelson explained “Our goal is to develop a plan that will increase agricultural productivity in the Territory so that food security and sovereignty are not just labels but a true reflection of the reality of the lives of people in the Virgin Islands.”

Farmers and interested members of the community are invited to join the town halls in person or via Zoom (links highlighted below). To ensure the health and safety of attendees, social distancing and the wearing of masks will be strictly enforced per local law/restrictions. Preregistration for those attending in person is requested at 340-693-1003. Details of the three town halls are as follows:

ST. JOHN, Monday, May 17, 2021:
Gifft Hill School, Upper Campus 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/3850929463

ST. CROIX, Wednesday, May 19, 2021:
University of the Virgin, The Great Hall 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/3850929463

ST. THOMAS, Thursday, June 3, 2021:
UVI Administration & Conference Center 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/3850929463

Ninety-seven percent of the USVI food supply is imported according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. Importation of food not only leaves the territory susceptible to shortages, but it impacts freshness and nutritional value and brings additional transportation costs that more than double for Virgin Islanders what stateside residents pay for the same products. Environmental issues are also key, such as the increased carbon that is created through importation.

According to the legislation, “The territorial agriculture plan, known as the ‘Agricultural Plan’ must contain policy and funding recommendations to support and expand the local food system, to increase locally grown food production and to provide food security for the Territory. The agriculture plan must include short-term and long-term goals, including proposals for legislative enactment.”

In addition to Dr. Hall and Commissioner Nelson, the Agricultural Plan Task Force includes

Diana E. Collingwood, Assistant Commissioner Department of Agriculture; Hannah V. Cary,

Deputy Commissioner Department 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; and Harith Wickrema, President of Island Green Living Association, an environmental non-profit on St. John.

Farmers and other members of the community are welcome to reach out to the Agricultural Plan Task Force with comments or questions at 340-774-5182 or agplan@doa.vi.gov.

You are donating to : Island Green Living Association

How much would you like to donate?
$25 $100 $500
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note