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World Food Day Activities Set Oct. 18 on St. Croix

World Food Day activities will be held on the grounds of the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 18. This year's theme is: "Global Food Crisis: Opportunities, Responsibilities and Solutions."

The Virgin Islands community is urged to come out and support junior high and senior high school students as they compete in the second World Food Day "Youth Super Chef Competition." There will also be an open "Breadfruit Bonanza Cooking Competition" for the public. Entries will be accepted from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 18. Categories are breads, desserts and side dishes. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries.

For the past 27 years, the UVI Cooperative Extension Service has taken the lead in providing educational workshops and interactive activities during World Food Day to encourage the planting of vegetables, fruits, and other food crops, thus, securing our own food security.

Free vegetable seedlings such as tomatoes, beets, peppers, collards, lettuce and pak choi will be distributed for home gardeners. A food vendors' court, a farmers' market, tours of UVI's Agricultural Experiment field facilities, a petting zoo and musical entertainment round out the day's activities.

This year, World Food Day workshops will focus on growing beets and breadfruit, and on raising goats. The first 30 persons to sign-up and attend the workshops will receive additional seedlings, slips and free samples of dishes featuring these crops. All schools, youth groups, and organizations are invited to help fight hunger by taking part in the World Food Day "Kids CAN Make a Difference Food Drive." Donations will be given to the local food banks.

World Food Day brings attention to the plight of the hungry and undernourished in the territory and the world. It also provides an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the complex solutions required to reduce hunger. The 2009 World Food Day Teleconference will consider the impact of the financial crisis on those living in poverty, the responsibilities of the rest of the world, and the solutions that are emerging.

World Food Day is observed throughout the world on October 16 each year, commemorating the day in 1945 when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization was formed. The day is used to raise awareness of the plight of those living in hunger all over the world.

World Food Day activities are sponsored by UVI Cooperative Extension Service in partnership with the V.I. Department of Agriculture and UVI's Agricultural Experiment Station. For more information, call Clarice Clarke at (340) 692-4060.