Act 8404 is a law created two years ago called on the Department of Agriculture and the University of the Virgin Islands to formulate comprehensive Agricultural Plan for the United States Virgin Islands. The plan would include policy and funding recommendations to support and expand the local food system, to increase locally grown food production and to provide an avenue of food security. Back in in May, the plan was unveiled (to see materials click here).
Recently the Committee on Economic Development and Agriculture heard testimony from farmers and developers of the plan. According to the St. Croix Source, the executive summary identifies the goal of the plan is “to increase agricultural productivity locally to make food security and sovereignty a reality for those living in the Virgin Islands.”
- The plan defines “food sovereignty” as a system by which “the food supply is produced locally through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, with the community having authority over their own food and agricultural mechanisms.”
- For Food security, the plan takes the definition from the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, “…when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands, who, Positive Nelson Luca, the Agriculture Commissioner Positive led the testimony. Other speakers including Luca Gasperi, co-owner of Art Farm on St. Croix with 40 acres with four acres growing food, Nate Olive, of Ridge to Reef Farm on St. Croix, and others voiced their feedback, particularly concerns of ensuring proper funding.
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