The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Car-
ibbean Green Technol-ogy Center (CGTC) and
the Community Found-ation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) have teamed up to aid farmers and families by donating more than 850 fruit trees on St Thomas, St John and St Croix.
This effort was sponsored by Cruzan Rum’s Island Spirit Fund, established in partnership with GlobalGiving and is aimed at increasing access to fresh food across the Virgin Islands.
Farmers and residents of all islands received a selection of mango, avocado and papaya trees to increase their orchards or home gardens.
These trees will support the rebuilding of farms across the territory, many of which were devastated by the 2017 hurricanes.
Once mature in a few years, fruits from those trees will improve access to healthy food and increase agricultural production in the Virgin Islands.
Christina Chanes, CGTC re-
search specialist and pro-gramme coordinator of the project, indicated that the goal was to provide farmers with trees that would increase their crop production and support rural development in a time of uncertainty and stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a wonderful project that was a win-win for UVI and the community overall,” said Ms Chanes, adding that the project was designed to include fruit trees that produce at various times throughout the year so that farmers would have continuous production.
“This project is vital to our community. Farmers have been hit hard in recent years and teaming with CFVI to provide ways for them to increase their production and to say thanks to them for working to feed the community is just a great way to share good health and nutrition and promote agriculture in the community.”
The Virgin Islands Department of Education also took part in the programme through the Parent University Program co-ordinated by Jerae Forde.
“The fruit trees hit home for us – it connects the community with food and healthy nutrition which is a great way to promote self-care,” said Forde.
“Whether a senior, parent, or farmer you have to take care of yourself and this was a great way to build the community through agriculture and con-necting them to the earth and nature.”
This effort is one of many that CGTC is leading to promote the sustainable development of the islands.