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.