farmer

Grantley Samuel, owner of GLG Plants and Produce and third-generation farmer from St. Croix, used his World Central Kitchen grant to purchase a tractor. With the new machinery he expects to double production, which will also allow him to hire new full-time staff. Samuel grows plantains, melons, cucumbers, eggplant and other vegetables.

World Central Kitchen has announced the launch of its fourth round of grants as part of its Food Producer Network. The program helps build resilient local food systems and strengthen food security through direct financial support to farmers, fishers and small food-related businesses.

In this current call for applications to the program, World Food Kitchen will also be accepting applications from nonprofit organizations, associations, cooperatives or other community projects related to food production or distribution. Food Producer Network seeks to revitalize its beneficiaries’ operations and grow their capacity to produce, distribute and sell food at the local level to reduce the heavy reliance on food imports.

The grants can be used to finance capital improvements such as building greenhouses, walk-in coolers, or storage units as well as purchasing tractors, ice machines, irrigation and rainwater collection systems, and engines for fishing boats. World Food Kitchen also offers a free and online training program that includes technical training to raise production and business skills classes to enhance commercial operations and increase sales and access to markets. Additionally, World Food Kitchen assists beneficiaries through its volunteer network comprised of locals and visitors who provide community service to help partners meet their labor needs.

“With the future uncertain in 2021 for so many businesses, we are grateful for the psychological lift provided by Chef José Andrés and the Food Producer Network team who are working on a massive scale to provide meaningful dollar amounts to small producers where so many other entities promised but failed us after Hurricane Maria,” said Christina Frederick of ARTfarm on St Croix. Christina and the team at ARTfarm are using World Food Kitchen’s grant to build a cold storage and processing area out of an insulated container.

The Food Producer Network was established in 2018 in response to the devastating hurricane season the year prior. Since then, $3.7 million in grants have been disbursed to over 200 food producers affected by natural disasters in the Caribbean and Central America. To date, World Food Kitchen has invested more than $300,000 through 20 grants in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with an average grant amount of $15,000.

Grant applications will be accepted through Oct. 13. For more information or to submit an application, visit wck.org/food-producer-network and follow World Food Kitchen’s Food Producer Network on social media at https://www.facebook.com/wckfpn. For questions regarding the application process, contact WCK at fpn@wck.org.