Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett (USVI), chair of the Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee, released the following statement announcing over $778,000 in federal grants for U.S. Virgin Islands farmers and agriculture community:
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has awarded a number of grants to the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, the University of the Virgin Islands Agriculture Department and the Foundation for Community Development. These grants include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), the Micro-Grants for Food Security (MGFSP) and the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMLFPP). Each of these grants will strengthen the specialty crop industry and increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food.
“As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I emphasize the need for our local farmers to participate in non-competitive grants. I am happy to announce that the SCBGP will be awarded for a three-year period beginning September 30, 2020. The MGSFSP will assist communities that have significant levels of food insecurity and import a significant quantity of food. This grant is awarded for a four-year period beginning September 30, 2020.
“The FMLFPP supports development, coordination and expansion of direct producer to consumer markets and local and regional food businesses enterprises. This funding can be used to expand markets on roadside stands, agritourism activities, community agriculture programs (CSA) and online sales.
“I will continue to support farmers as we continue negotiations for fiscal year 2021. Agribusinesses in the Virgin Islands have been the backbone of our economy, and this funding is vital in its perpetuity.”