U.S. Virgin Islands
|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||1||$286,673|
The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) depends on agricultural imports from the continental United States to feed its residents and the millions of tourists who visit each year. Not surprisingly, importation leads to high food costs, which places a heavy financial burden on those that call the islands home.
Yet this financial burden also creates a huge economic opportunity as the high cost of imported foods supports the development of a viable, local market for new agricultural businesses. In 2015, EDA invested nearly $2 million to support construction of the Agri-Business Economic Development Center in the U.S. Virgin Islands for use by the Fueling Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (FEED) program. FEED will provide hands-on training and classroom sessions to individuals interested in mastering the skills required to own, manage, or work within the innovative aquaponic and hydroponic growth systems, state-of- the-art nurseries, and field-based farming.
The Center will serve the entire USVI territory, including the most populated islands of St. Croix (STX), St. Thomas and St. Johns, and will be a catalyst for the revitalization of the agriculture industry and diversification of the territory’s economic base, as well as providing access to locally grown safe and affordable fish and produce. The proposed Center will serve as a catalyst for the revitalization and diversification of the territory’s economic base. Through its FEED programs, the Center will provide workforce training in all areas of aquaponics and hydroponics farming techniques (system construction, proper installation of pumps and filtration systems, installation of green renewable energy sources, greenhouse maintenance, food handling and packaging); modern field-based farming methods and incubate new businesses and jobs in one of the Territory’s targeted growth sectors.