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History

History

The history of the Good Food Coalition is rooted in Virgin Islands need for food sustainability and food sovereignty. A conversation that first got started in the Virgin Islands through the introduction of a new bill in 2010. That same year, the government of the Virgin Islands adopted Act7162, which was a bill passed to create a Farm to School program within the Department of Agriculture to promote healthy food and healthy living within schools. While there were no resources put behind the bill at the time, local schools eventually became aware of the conversation about Farm to School. In 2012, the children of the Ricardo Richards Elementary school did an amazing presentation on the need for Farms to School in Virgin Islands schools for the Agriculture Fair which takes place every February. With the help of their instructor, Sommer Sibilly Brown, students explored Farms to School and the need for local fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. In the latter part of 2012, Ricardo Richards led the initial conversation on procurement of local foods by hosting a meet and greet between local producers and the St. Croix District School Food Authority, again, under the direction of Mrs. Sibilly Brown. From this meeting, the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition was born.

Since the inception of the organization, there have been various accomplishments that have helped move the mission of the VI GFC forward. These accomplishments have included:

  • The Ridge to Reef Farms received the first local contract to provide fresh vegetables for the school in the St. Thomas school district.
  • In May 2015, the Good Food Coalition partnered with the Department of Education and the United States Department of Agriculture to produce the first Farms to School conference in the territory. The conference, entitled “Linking the VI Chain” brought together for the first time educational policy makers, teachers, farmers, producers, and community members to discuss the reality of creating sustainable farms to school program in the territory.
  • VIGFC started an “Adopt A Farm” Fund through the St. Croix Foundation to assist local farmers who may need additional help with tools, equipment, and other resources to assist in their farming and business efforts.
  • VIGFC also participated in the 2015 USVI Investment Forum to discuss the necessity of investing in agriculture and food security in the territory. VIGFC presented Caribbean Agriculture Economic Society meeting
  • VIGFC hosted opening event for Launch of Virgins Islands Department of Tourism DINE VI activities. FOODLEARN engaged youth in 9-12th grade and community stakeholders in Farm tour activities and food security discussions. Topped off by 80% locally sourced three course meal prepared by Chef Frank Pugliese and students from various schools.
  • Invited to present the Virgin Islands Farm to School Initiative at the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
  • VIGFC Farm to School Initiative receives award at Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE). For poster and proposal “An Illustrative Model of Farm-to-School-Program: Advocating Food Safety in Light of Environmental Change in the Virgin Islands”