NASSAU, BAHAMAS — World Central Kitchen (WCK) yesterday announced its latest opportunity for farmers, fishers and food businesses on Grand Bahama and Abaco to apply for grants with the nonprofit organization.
Through its Food Producer Network (formerly known as Plow-to-Plate), the organization offers direct financial support to local food producers to support the revitalization and regeneration of the production, distribution and sale of locally-sourced foods, with the goal of lowering the high rate of food imports in The Bahamas.
In addition to funding, WCK also provides business and technical training opportunities, networking and access to human capital through WCK’s volunteer and agritourism program.
WCK aims to strengthen food systems across the Caribbean and to decrease the region’s long-standing dependence on food imports. Applicants have the opportunity to qualify for a grant of up to $20,000 to grow their businesses and their resilience.
Eligible business activities include farming, hydroponics, aquaponics, aquaculture, beekeeping, livestock, commercial fishing, distribution and added-value production of specialty foods such jams, sauces, flours or others.
In January, the nonprofit announced the newest participants in the program: the farmers Duncanson Farms, Grand Bahama Backyard Farmers, Henry Duncombe Farms, Local Organics Limited and the fishers Fritzroy Thompson, Gale Force, M/V Lisa Bain, Mjolnir Sea Foods and Perseverance Investment Limited, all based on Grand Bahama.
Karen Huff-Lowe, owner of Lowe’s Fish Market on Abaco and participant in the first cohort of grants, said: “I can’t even imagine where we would be without the assistance we have received.
“WCK provided us with the means to purchase an electric reel so we could continue our business. We lost everything to Hurricane Dorian, including our home, business, boats and all of our fishing equipment. WCK restored our hope by providing the equipment we needed to start our business again, which in turn is providing us with income to feed and provide for ourselves.
“Also, there is a snowball effect on others in our community. We can provide more fish to different restaurants, which in turn employ more people and help them financially. So, the township is rebounding from the devastation we experienced thanks to this grant we received from WCK.
“We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because things are improving. Our numbers are proof that we are growing with product and sales.”
Mikol Hoffman, Food Producer Network director, said: “We are so proud to continue these efforts for the benefit of small food producers and to see them recover their capacity to nourish Bahamian homes with local food.
“Our goal is to help them recover assets lost, invigorate their operations and increase their resilience, which we know will spur economic recovery and growth for the food sector for the long-term.”
Applications to the program will be open until April 23, 2021 at 11.59pm. Those interested in applying may access the application here: https://wck.org/apply-to-fpn
WCK calls for applications to its Food Producer Network every six months. For more information, visit wck.org or follow WCK Food Producer Network on Facebook.