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St. Croix Celebrates World Food Day with Good Times, Good Turns

Nov. 2, 2008 — Hundreds of people celebrated World Food Day on Sunday at the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, enjoying a good time while doing some good.
World Food Day, a United Nations event, was observed by most of the world two weeks ago, on Oct. 19. On St. Croix, the celebration had to be postponed because of Hurricane Omar, which hit the island just a few days earlier. But if World Food Day was delayed in getting to the island, it was still a lot of fun.
It was also a chance for people of the island to help out those less fortunate. Students at schools across the island collected hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food and brought it to the UVI campus. Most will go to local food banks operated by Caribbean Catholic Charities, My Brothers' Table and The Light House. This year some will also be donated to relief efforts on the island of Haiti, which has been devastated by several hurricanes and tropical storms this year.
Sponsored by the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, UVI Agricultural Experiment Station and the V.I. Department of Agriculture, World Food Day events combined local vendors, tours of the facilities at the Agricultural Experiment Station and lectures on a variety of food and farm topics. Throw in a local food court, a young chef's competition, a petting zoo and music, and you've got the makings of an event that both educated and entertained.
The Extension Service distributed free seedlings of vegetables and herbs to anyone interested — and a lot of people were interested, with a line that moved smoothly but never seemed any shorter over the course of an hour.
Lectures included sessions on corn production, sheep, sorrel and the role of bees in food production. The petting zoo provided a respite for children to get up close and personal with some domestic animals brought in by the 4-H Club, while their parents watched locals slicing coconuts and sugar cane, or pored over the locally produced food and craft items for sale.
With the threat of climate change and other environmental problems leading to food scarcity and higher prices, it's good to learn a little about agriculture, said Clarice Clark, the Extension Service's public information specialist, who gave the official welcome at the start of the event.
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