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World Central Kitchen unveils ‘Plow to Plate’ program to boost local agriculture

World Central Kitchen Puerto Rico unveiled an integral support platform to promote sustainable agriculture projects on the island, called “Plow to Plate.”

The program, supported by World Central Kitchen — a nonprofit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting world hunger and poverty founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés — offers financial support and training to small farmers, community-based projects and food sector business initiatives to strengthen Puerto Rico’s agricultural ecosystem, increase local harvests and help reduce food insecurity tied to imports.

The project will
have two calls during 2019 to subsidize initiatives with funds and technical
training resources, organization officials announced.

“Our goal is
to help agricultural recovery on the island as an agent of change and
innovation in this important sector, giving much emphasis to sustainable
agriculture,” said Mikol Hoffman, Manager of WCK in Puerto Rico.

“Through the ‘Plow
to Plate’ call in 2019, we will be providing substantial support to individual
agribusinesses, and this year’s call includes agricultural community projects,”
he said, confirming in its initial stage, the “Plow to Plate” program consists
of two calls per year until 2020.

The initiative
was unveiled at an event held at the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation, which highlighted
35 projects that received financial and technical support from WCK in 2018, as
well as organization initiatives related to the development of agrotourism and volunteering
programs in Puerto Rico.

The 35 projects
represent a wide range of initiatives in the food sector, from small farmers to
innovative companies, from bee pollination, to the production and conservation
of seeds and food distribution and sales. Last year, WCK granted more than $547,000
to projects affected by Hurricane María. In 2017, the entity awarded more than
$200,000 in recovery grants to small entrepreneurs.

“We’re very
excited about the support and participation of all sectors of the food industry
to collaborate for a common goal: to strengthen local agriculture in a
responsible and sustainable way, to nourish the generations of today and
tomorrow with fresh foods, with a consistent distribution in the local market,”
Hoffman said.

“This will allow
us to strengthen the food security of our island and reduce dependence on
imports in the face of emergencies such as the one we suffered with the passage
of Hurricane María,” he said. “If we sow a healthy and resilient agricultural
future, we guarantee that our people can always be fed.”

After the devastating passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017 through Puerto
Rico, World Central Kitchen established operations on the Island and served
more than 3 million hot meals with a wide network of local chefs and
participants in the food industry, extending its aid through from all of Puerto
Rico until June 2018, and expanding support currently with the “Plow to
Plate” program.

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