Partnerships Addressing Hunger in Saint Lucia

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SEATTLE — Saint Lucia is a small but beautiful island in the Caribbean. The island stretches only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide and is divided by mountains. Since gaining independence in 1979, the country has struggled to remain economically stable as its agricultural production was depleted multiple times. It has also had a carousel of governments in recent decades. Currently, one of St. Lucia’s biggest issues is hunger.

In an attempt to combat hunger in Saint Lucia, the government created the School Feeding Program. One of the goals of this program was to plant gardens near 13 primary schools and implement the produce into the lunch menu. With the help of Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health and Social Transformation, a greenhouse and irrigation system was included in the building plans to ensure the stability of the school gardens.

The School Feeding Program in Saint Lucia was the government’s best idea at tackling the U.N. “Zero Hunger Challenge.” The country received support from Brazil’s government as well.

In November 2014, Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) agreed to partner with the government of Saint Lucia for the School Feeding Project. LUCELEC was a huge partner in this initiative because it provided $18,000 in funding, which was enough to build one garden. The corporation was more than happy to support the School Feeding Program because it too wants to fight against hunger in Saint Lucia.

Less than a year later, LUCELEC had donated $77,000 to help the Vieux-Fort Primary School build an improved kitchen, complete with a better layout and new appliances. The school’s greenhouse was constructed to not only provided a reliable food source but also a learning environment for farming techniques.

Since 2008, the Vieux-Fort Primary School had struggled to create a successful feeding program for its students. Thanks to Saint Lucia’s Food and Nutrition Policy, those attending the school know exactly where their lunches are coming from and hunger in Saint Lucia was lessened.

More recently in 2016, an organization called Food For The Poor did similar work with schools to combat hunger in Saint Lucia. Its goal, however, was to focus on planting fruit-bearing trees that grow well on the island. In partnership with Taiwan’s Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation, 60 different schools in Saint Lucia received fruit trees.

Through donations from Food For The Poor and the government of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, around 10,000 different species of trees were planted. Cocoa, coffee and citrus trees were among the locally grown tree species donated to the cause. The fruit trees provided more healthy food for school children and work for Saint Lucia’s farmers.

The beekeeping training provided by Food For The Poor helped decrease hunger in Saint Lucia by creating a new source of income. By having the proper equipment to care for bees, farmers have been able to produce honey and beeswax for their communities while also feeding their families.

Organizations and companies like LUCELEC and Food For The Poor have made it easier to prevent hunger in Saint Lucia by providing the necessary materials and knowledge to promote agricultural practices in the community. Their hope is that the work they have done will lead to a future generation of farmers and less hunger in Saint Lucia.

Mackenzie Fielder

Photo: Flickr

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