World Central Kitchen announced the opening of its bi-annual cycle of Plow to Plate, the organization’s agricultural support platform that offers direct financial support, training opportunities, and volunteer assistance to small farmers, agribusinesses, and community-led projects in the food sector.
The latest call to apply to Plow to Plate begins Sept. 1 and closes Oct. 1, 2019, after which WCK will evaluate diverse projects across Puerto Rico, ranging from smallholder farmers and agribusinesses, food distributors, suppliers, and related vendors, to farming associations and cooperatives.
Plow to Plate will also evaluate community-based and educational projects related to food production, food security, and nutrition.
Plow to Plate’s objective is to help these entities revitalize following the devastation levied on the agricultural sector in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and María and to regenerate their long-term capacity for the production, distribution, and sale of food to achieve a lasting decrease in the high rate of food imports on the island.
Plow to Plate offers grants from $5,000 to $20,000 to underwrite capital improvements aimed at increased production like in infrastructure, supplies, equipment or technology.
WCK also offers its participants access to a variety of training and networking opportunities both in technical agriculture areas to increase their production and business skills to increase sales and access to diverse markets.
Finally, WCK also connects participating farms with travelers visiting the island who wish to volunteer. This opportunity provides fundamental human capital vital for the farm success while simultaneously driving the visitor economy into the more rural communities across the island and strengthening the growing agri-tourism trend.
“Our goal is to strengthen the food ecosystem of Puerto Rico, increase local crops to nourish households with fresh products from the country and contribute to reducing food insecurity related to food imports,” said Mikol Hoffman, WCK manager in Puerto Rico.
In 2018, WCK awarded more than $547,000 in grants to projects affected by Hurricane María and in 2017 awarded more than $200,000 in recovery grants or “small recovery grants.”
This next round of support has awarded more than $362,000, making the total amount of funds invested in support of the food economy of Puerto Rico reach $1 million.
Plow to Plate will open two rounds per year until 2022 to subsidize initiatives through funds and technical training resources, as required by the selected projects, to reach more than 200 projects throughout the archipelago and strengthen the food chain in a sustainable and lasting way.