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Virgin Islands Good Food Presents Inaugural Island Food Systems Summit: Relationships, Resources & Resilience

Virgin Islands Good Food is thrilled to host the Inaugural Island Food Systems Summit from Monday, Feb. 19, to Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Great Hall located at UVI Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.

This landmark event aims to bring together farmers, front-line workers, partners, and allies from the USVI, Caribbean region, and the U.S. to build relationships, share knowledge and resources, and strategize for a more resilient territorial food system, according to the press release.

The Island Food Systems Summit follows the 52nd Annual Agricultural and Food Fair held from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19. The main activities and panels of the summit are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20 and Wednesday, Feb. 21, preceded by an informal networking event on Monday evening at LEVELS in Christiansted at 7 p.m., the press release stated.

All community members and interested individuals are invited to register and join the summit. Tickets are available for purchase at www.islandfoodsummit.com at a price of $100 per person. This ticket includes access to the summit’s activities on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with catered farm-focused breakfasts and lunches. Additionally, the ticket price covers the Monday evening networking event in Christiansted with hors d’oeuvres. Tuesday and Wednesday evening dinners are priced separately at $75 each and tickets are available online, the release stated.

The Inaugural Island Food Systems Summit represents the first conference of its kind focused on the territory’s food system. This pioneering event aims to center Virgin Islands farmers’ and producers’ voices, experiences, and expertise while showcasing the V.I.’s progress in expanding agriculture, conserving natural resources, and improving food security. Virgin Islands Good Food sponsored the ticket price for over 30 farmers through their Summit Scholarships program and is also supporting travel costs for farmers from the St. Thomas/St. John region, according to the release.

Distinguished guests and partners from esteemed organizations such as the USDA, National Black Food & Justice Alliance, Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network, Rural Advancement Foundation Int’l, University of Iowa Extension, Hawai’i Good Food Alliance, and more will join the summit panels alongside Virgin Islands farmers and producers, it said.

The summit schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday includes engaging guest speakers, interactive World Cafe forums, and compelling breakout panel sessions at the Great Hall, UVI Albert A. Sheen Campus. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in one of five immersive experiences scheduled off-site on Tuesday afternoon, including farm tours, historical tours, plant workshops, and more. Curated “learning dinners” will be held on Tuesday evening at Mutiny Vodka’s Sion Farm Distillery and Sejah Farm VI, the release stated.

Topics for the Summit’s Plenary and Breakout Sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday include:

  • Cultivating Success: Establishing a USDA Regional Food Business Center
  • Leveraging Strengths for Impact: The Imperative of Cross-Sector Collaboration in Food Systems
  • Cultivating Capital: Empowering Farmers for Resilient Food Systems
  • Lessons in Preparedness: Mitigating Disaster Response in the VI Food System
  • Navigating the USDA: Maximizing Opportunities Through Agricultural Programs
  • Conservation Workforce Development Program, and Cultivating Tomorrow: Engaging Youth in Food System Work.

The summit also introduces the unique “World Café” forum, which will be facilitated by The Outside. The World Café method is practiced worldwide and enables large-scale conversations to harness collective wisdom and creativity. World Café is built on the following assumptions: “People already have within them the wisdom and creativity to confront even the most difficult challenges; that the answers we need are available to us; and that we are wiser together than we are alone.”

The Island Food Systems Summit will culminate in a special benefit dinner on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Ha’ Penny Beach Club. This evening promises a delectable culinary journey featuring locally sourced ingredients masterfully prepared by renowned St. Croix chef Ralph Motta. Tickets for the benefit dinner are priced at $75 and are available for purchase by both summit attendees and the general public at islandfoodsummit.com. The dinner aims to create a meaningful experience where the joy of a delicious, locally sourced meal is coupled with the satisfaction of building and sustaining networks that support the Virgin Islands’ food system, according to the release.

More information about this event and the full list of speakers, immersive experiences, and panel discussions can be found on the summit’s official website.

For inquiries about the summit, please contact Virgin Islands Good Food at info@goodfoodvi.org or call 340-727-8443.

 

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