As the people of the Virgin Islands rally to increase their food security, the Caribbean Green Technology Center at the University of the Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands Community Foundation have teamed up to help farmers and families by donating over 850 fruit trees in St. Thomas, St. Jean and Sainte-Croix.
The effort was sponsored by Cruzan Rum’s Island Spirit Fund, established in partnership with GlobalGiving, and aims to increase access to fresh food in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to a press release from UVI.
Farmers and residents of all islands received a selection of mango, avocado and papaya trees to expand their orchards or home gardens as part of the program, the school said. The trees will support the rebuilding of farms across the territory, many of which were devastated by the hurricanes of 2017. When mature in a few years, the fruits of these trees will improve access to healthy food and increase agricultural production. in the US Virgin Islands, UVI said.
Christina Chanes, CGTC research specialist and program coordinator for this project, said the aim was to provide farmers with trees to increase their agricultural production and support rural development in a time of uncertainty and stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a wonderful project that has been a win-win for UVI and the community at large,” said Chanes, adding that the project was designed to include fruit trees that produce at different times of the year so that farmers have continuous production.
“This project is vital for our community. Farmers have been hit hard in recent years and teaming up with CFVI to provide them with ways to increase their production and thanking them for working to feed the community is just a great way to share good health and nutrition and promote farming in the community, ”Chanes said.
Farmer and volunteer Royce Creque of Green Ridge Guava Berry Farm at Estate Bordeaux in St. Thomas and Chanes worked together earlier in September to complete the distribution of fruit trees to 100 farmers and 250 families across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
To identify families to receive the trees, the project has partnered with a COVID-19 emergency grant program from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. , designed to help families cope with mental health issues and isolation during the pandemic so they can get involved. gardening while sheltering in place.
Cindi Rollins, director of the VI Department of Human Services Senior Community Service Employment Program, Foster Grandparent Program and Retired Senior Volunteer Program, who partnered with UVI on the project, noted that participants were excited to hear they would receive trees to place in their gardens. “This is a great program that the seniors of the US Virgin Islands have enjoyed in our programs,” said Rollins.
The VI Department of Education also participated through the Parent University program coordinated by Jerae Forde. Forde, who worked with Chanes to gift trees to clients who participated in the parenting program, said: “Fruit trees touch us at home – they connect the community with food and healthy eating, which is a great way to promote personal care. Whether you are a senior, a parent, or a farmer, you need to take care of yourself and it was a great way to build community through farming and connect it to the land and nature.
This effort is one of many that the CGTC is leading to promote the sustainable development of the islands. To help farmers and the community in general, CGTC has launched a program new newsletter focusing on agriculture and drought. CGTC staff will also create a water resources guide called “Go with Flow”, which will focus on CGTC Caribbean-focused strategies.
The mission of the UVI CGTC is to develop, promote and help implement the use of innovative green technologies to improve the social development of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the well-being of all communities in the territory, according to the statement. “The CGTC will achieve its objectives by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change and creating products, processes and methods relevant to the Caribbean islands,” he said. -he declares.
For more information and to stay informed of all events organized by CGTC, visit their website.