30 Puerto Rico-based food production projects get funding from World Central Kitchen
World Central Kitchen (WCK) has announced the recipients of its seventh round of grants in Puerto Rico, disbursed through its Food Producer Network.
The program builds resilient local food systems and strengthens food security through direct financial support to smallholder farmers and fishers, as well as small food-related businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The program seeks to revitalize beneficiaries’ operations and re-grow their capacity to produce, distribute and sell food at the local level to reduce Puerto Rico’s reliance on food imports, the nonprofit stated.
The projects joining the Food Producer Network are the farms operated by César Irrizary Ramos and Héctor López Vega, both in Adjuntas; J.A. Processing Project in Aibonito; Green Good Product in Cabo Rojo; De mi Tierra a mi Pueblo, a farm in Caguas; Finca El Edén in Camuy; Finca Las Margaritas in Coamo; Finca Inarú in Corozal; Finca Pastoreo in Dorado; Productos Pepa in Hatillo; the project run by Lourdes Pérez in Lares; Finca KPE and Granja Loma Linda, both in Mayagüez; La Fundadora Project in Moca; Vaquería José González Guzmán in Quebradillas; and, Karibe Kombucha in Rincón.
Also joining the Network is: Hacienda Retoño in Hatillo; Nostra Raza in San Germán; and Agro Tropical in Santa Isabel.
The fishers joining the Network are: Ángel Normandía and Rodolfo Abrams in Cataño; Irvin Báez in Río Grande; Jerry Cardona in Aguada; José Chaar in Rincón; and José Conde in Mayagüez. Additionally, joining the Network is: apiaries Guaré in San Lorenzo, and Puente Real in Moca; and community-based organization Colectivo el Ancón in Loíza.
The funds will be used to finance capital improvements such as building nurseries and purchasing tractors, ice machines, freezers, irrigation and rainwater collection systems, and motors for fishing boats.
WCK also offers technical capacity building workshops to raise partner production capabilities and enhance commercial operations to increase sales and access to markets. Additionally, WCK assists beneficiaries through its volunteer Network, comprised of local community members and visitors who provide community service to help partners meet their goals.
“Through this Network, we have supported 165 small business and organizations in the food sector,” said Mikol Hoffman, Director of the Food Producer Network.
“Three years since its launch, we have concrete data showing that members of the Network can double production and sales within a year of joining the program. It is exciting to witness this progress firsthand, which motivates us to continue striving to advance the needs of small businesses within the food sector. We will continue to work collaboratively to improve access to healthy, local foods for all Puerto Ricans,” he added.
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 food producers affected by natural disasters in the Caribbean and Central America.
In 2020, to support food security throughout the region, the program’s geographical coverage expanded to include the United States Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and Guatemala.