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This project will enhance the capacity of the agricultural workforce in Vieques to increase local food production and improve livelihood opportunities for the farming community. Project objectives are to equip beginning farmers with the tools necessary to succeed which, in turn, will help address existing food insecurity in Vieques by increasing access to local food. This project will produce data and experiential knowledge useful for other agricultural practitioners serving socially-disadvantaged, military veteran, limited resource farmers, and Puerto Rican farmers.For this project, CTC will provide direct training, land access, marketing services, financial assistance, and business support to 100 socially-disadvantaged beginning farmers in Vieques by the end of the project. By project's end, our objective is to have 100 acres farmed in Vieques as a direct result of this project. From this land our goal is to have farmers produce at least 300,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables at 3,000 pounds per acre per year (estimates from USDA Caribbean Climate Hub) This production does not include the eggs and meat that we also intend to supply through this project. With fruits and vegetables alone, this project poses a significant increase in local food production and consumption as currently only 1% of the total food purchases are sourced from Vieques. This project objective is therefore an approximate 10,000% increase in local produce consumption, and a minimum eightfold increase in per capita consumption of local produce.* Based on an average annual food consumed of 700 pounds per capita (USDA ERS, 2018), per year, for 8,700 people with 1% local fruits and vegetables, that averages out to each Vieques resident consuming approximately 7 pounds of local fruits and vegetables per year.CTC will help Vieques farmers make their operations more financially viable, offering a comprehensive workshop series on farmer-chosen topics. These will include but are not limited to production planning, one-on-one technical assistance, and centralized point-of-sale opportunities. This project provides existing and prospective agricultural workers in Vieques with the knowledge and skill sets to expand economic opportunities and bolster financial security. Supporting farmers with the technical capacity to boost production and connect with purchasers increases local food procurement. helping to grow the local food system. Restaurant and hotel purchasing partners can market local organic food at a higher price to tourists, the largest economic industry in Vieques. This helps to increase local revenues and purchasing power, feeding back to more local food purchases from farmers, thereby helping to grow the local food system.Project Objectives include the following:Increase the number of farmers in ViequesIncrease amount of acreage farmedIncrease number (in lbs.) of total and per acre efficiency of food productionIncrease profitability of beginning farmersIncrease local meat production and consumptionIncrease farmers and farm workers who are trained on food safety, handling, and packing specificationsEstablish purchasers in the CTC networkEstablish a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for beginning farmersIncrease participation of the local food system as a result of this projectReduce and provide beneficial use for food waste

Ruiz, O.; Ramos-rodriguez, Ol, .
Community Through Colors
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