Commissioner-designee of Agriculture Positive Nelson has announced that the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (DOA) — Marketing Division is seeking to recruit a total of 13 farmers, six in each district, and reserving opportunity for one applicant on St. John, to participate in the Farm to Hospital (FTH) Program. The program will provide selected applicants with technical assistance and training on best planting practices, crop variety selection, irrigation and post-harvest-techniques.
DOA secured federal funding from the USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) FY 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant to establish the program to operate in conjunction with the Harvest of the Month initiative in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The selected farmers will function in concert to grow fruit/vegetable crops that will be presented on the hospital ’s lunch menu as the Harvest of the Month in both districts.
All individuals interested in participating in this program may request an application via e-mail: [email protected]; or pick up one from the DOA in either district. Selected applicants must possess the following minimum requirements:
Adequate water supply
Land (proprietorship of property is not mandatory; however, if the property belongs to another party, then express permission from the landowner must be granted).
The Farm to Hospital – Harvest of the Month program seeks to establish a formal supply chain relationship between hospitals and farms in which both parties benefit. Hospitals benefit by upholding the shared mission of many hospitals to
1) promote healthy living,
2) provide a model from which patients may learn and
3) foster a healthy food environment.
Farmers benefit because FTH programs create an alternative marketing channel for their products. The deadline to submit applications to the DOA – Marketing Division is 4:59 p.m. Feb. 28, 2019. Applications may be submitted electronically to [email protected].
All questions regarding this opportunity should be sent to the above email address.