WCK opens new round of grants for food production projects in Puerto Rico
World Central Kitchen (WCK) announced the launch of its ninth round of grants as part of its Food Producer Network (FPN), a program that helps build resilient local food systems and strengthen food security.
It does so through grants of up to $20,000 to support farmers, fishers, and food-related businesses and nonprofit organizations based in Puerto Rico.
FPN seeks to revitalize its beneficiaries’ operations and re-grow their capacity to produce, distribute, and sell food at the local level to reduce the island’s heavy reliance on food imports, the nonprofit stated.
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.
WCK also offers a free online capacity building program that includes technical training to raise production and business skills and enhance commercial operations and increase sales and access to markets.
Additionally, WCK assists beneficiaries through its volunteer network, comprised of locals and visitors who provide community service to help partners meet their labor needs.
“Having a new powerful and efficient motor for my boat has allowed me to fish more days out of the year, increase the amount of time I can be out at sea, and has reduced fuel costs,” said Edwin Arroyo, a commercial fisher from Vega Baja, who received a WCK grant last year.
With his grant, Arroyo also purchased a new GPS system and a refrigeration system that make it possible to fish with much more accuracy and to maintain his catch fresh for longer.
FPN 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 more than 200 food producers affected by natural disasters in the Caribbean and Central America.
In Puerto Rico, WCK has invested more than $2.5 million through grants and created the Santurce Food Market to increase access to locally produced food in San Juan. Three years since FPN’s launch there is concrete data showing that food producers can double their production and sales within one year of receiving their grant.
The window to submit grant applications opens today and runs through Jan. 11, 2022. For more information or to apply, click HERE.