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President Dr. David Hall

Welcome Friends and Supporters of the Virgin Islands Local Food and Farm Council,

I am Dr. David Hall, serving as both the Co-chairperson of the Virgin Islands Local Food and Farm Council and President of the University of the Virgin Islands. It is my genuine pleasure to extend heartfelt greetings to you as we proudly unveil the brand-new Virgin Islands Local Food and Farm Council website. I am honored to have the privilege of guiding you through the exciting initiatives and vital work of the Local Food and Farm Council as we embark on a journey to provide you with a wealth of service and opportunities to enhance our local food systems.

Having had the honor of serving as the Co-chair of the Virgin Islands Agriculture Plan Taskforce, a pivotal initiative that paved the way for the creation of the Virgin Islands Local Food and Farm Council, I take immense pride in continuing to champion the mandates and objectives of the Plan. This innovative roadmap established the Local Food and Farm Council in alignment with Mandate 5, and the 35th Legislature of the United States Virgin Islands subsequently ratified it under Act No. 8716, Bill No. 35-0049. This legislative milestone underpins our unwavering commitment to advancing our agricultural industry and ensuring sustainable growth and food security. 

The Council shall comprise 11 dedicated members, each with a unique role in nurturing and bolstering the agricultural sector in our breathtaking islands. Spanning from government officials to valued community members, our council is a vibrant reflection of the diversity and resilience in our agricultural community, which has now expanded to include the fishing industry.

The Local Food and Farm Council’s responsibilities cover a broad spectrum of activities, from amending the Virgin Islands Agriculture Plan to providing invaluable insights on policy adjustments, supporting the newly established Agriculture Business Center that offers farming business consulting, creating matching grant programs, fostering collaborations with local and federal agencies, and actively engaging with our community to ensure food security. Our comprehensive scope reflects our overarching goal: to sustain and elevate agricultural productivity and food security in the territory to benefit our fellow Virgin Islanders.

Additionally, I am delighted to present the Council’s progress on two pivotal mandates dedicated to supporting farmers passionate about sustainable agriculture and nurturing the next generation of agricultural leaders:

Mandate 4: The creation of a local food and farm fund from voluntary sources to support initiatives and agriculture-related activities:

  • The Council has successfully crafted comprehensive agreements, providing farmers with opportunities to participate in the Agriculture Grant Match Assistance program or apply for Short-Term Loans.  This initiative serves as a funding avenue for farms of all scales, encouraging joint ventures and cooperative arrangements.  Moreover, it aligns with the mandate to establish the Public-Private Investment Fund and the Farmer’s Grant Matching Fund under the VI Economic Development Authority. These funds will support major initiatives from farmers, significantly increasing production and facilitating grant applications from the federal government or other non-government entities. This local food and farm fund aims to enhance various aspects of farm operations, contributing to the overall growth and sustainability of our farming community. 

Mandate 7: The Development of education and training programs for local food farmers, entrepreneurs, and processes:

  • A transformative initiative aligned with this mandate is the “Seeds of Security” pilot program spearheaded by VI Department of Education. This visionary pilot program aims to seamlessly introduce agriculture education to six schools across the territory for PreK-12 grades. It integrates agricultural education seamlessly into core subjects, fostering an early understanding of agriculture and cultivating agricultural leaders for the future. Key features include grow bags, container gardens, hydroponic or aquaponic system provisions, and initiatives to reduce food waste. Drawing inspiration from the Ag in the Classroom, this curriculum incorporates badges and will offer rewards to celebrate student’s achievements.

As we forge ahead, we warmly encourage your active involvement and support in our endeavor. We invite you to explore this website, a central hub for information about our ongoing activities, pioneering initiatives, and noteworthy achievements. Here, you will find a treasure trove of valuable resources, updates on our ongoing projects, and a myriad of opportunities to join hands with us in our mission to strengthen our local food and farming systems. Together, we have the power to impact the agricultural and food industries in the territory substantially.

Thank you for visiting our website, and we eagerly anticipate collaborating with you to shape a sustainable and resilient future for our beloved Virgin Islands community.

Warm regards,

Dr. David Hall

Co-chairperson of the Virgin Islands Local Food and Farm Council and President of the University of the Virgin Islands

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