Kvarøy Arctic is expanding its charitable giving and support of a more diversified, equitable, and climate-change resilient food system through World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) Food Producer Network. Kvarøy Arctic is underwriting two separate grants in the budding WCK program, providing essential support for aquaculture projects Coral Vita in The Bahamas and Tilapia de la Faja in Guatemala.
Information source: Kvarøy Arctic / press release
WCK is a nonprofit organization that uses the power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. WCK provides nutritious meals to communities during natural disasters and other crises, and invests in local food systems through its long-term resilience programs, which include the Food Producer Network. This program, originally launched in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, has expanded its network of food producers and regions to include the Bahamas, USVI and Guatemala. The program partners with smallholder farmers, fishers, and small food-related enterprises to promote the development of sustainable food systems that encourage the growing and consumption of locally produced foods. This work is done with the goal of improving food security and helping communities build food resilience against future disasters.
Among the new efforts, Kvarøy Arctic is funding grants for an aquaculture track that supports existing businesses that demonstrate a track record of success but are impacted by a natural disaster and need support to continue their work.
The first aquaculture project WCK supported is Tilapia de la Faja in Guatemala, in an area that was impacted by the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in 2018. The organic tilapia farm was founded three years ago by seven young entrepreneurs and produces a new source of food and employment for a growing community. With this grant, Tilapia de la Faja is building seven new tilapia ponds and implementing the use of oxygenators facilitating year-round production and a steady stream of protein. Currently, the farm is supplying fish to 5 communities within their municipality. The growth of production will dramatically increase their impact, allowing them to reach 45 communities with an uninterrupted supply of fresh, organic tilapia.
In the Bahamas, Coral Vita is the world’s first commercial land-based coral farm. Founded by Sam Teicher & Gator Halpern, Coral Vita is dedicated to maintaining and regrowing coral reefs incorporating breakthrough techniques for growing coral up to 50x faster while boosting resilience against warming, acidifying oceans. The original farm was mostly destroyed by a 17ft storm surge due to Hurricane Dorian. After focusing on humanitarian aid in the aftermath, Coral Vita is returning to their core mission, sustaining the ecosystems that support the local community and help protect it from the threat of increasing storms. Through the grant, Coral Vita will invest in critical infrastructure for its project including a heat pump system, a heat exchange system, and a UVC filter, all of which are necessary due to the compromised water table from recent hurricanes. These innovations will allow Coral Vita to increase its efforts from growing hundreds to over ten thousand coral fragments and build capacity for local jobs and tourism.
“The support of WCK and Kvarøy Arctic has helped us rebuild our farm even better than it was before the devastation of Hurricane Dorian,” says Halpern. “We’ve been able to scale our operations and increase the efficiency of our coral farming infrastructure to further benefit the reef ecosystem and community of The Bahamas.”
“We believe in the importance of supporting a diverse array of projects to benefit the health of our oceans and our communities globally,” says Kvarøy Arctic Director of Development Jennifer Bushman. “Aquaculture isn’t a well-known industry in the Caribbean and we believe our support through this WCK program will help grow the industry for the benefit of us all.”
Through its grant support, Kvarøy Arctic is actively engaged in improving local economies and environments impacted by elements due to climate change. For more information about the World Central Kitchen Food Producer Network visit (wck.org/food-producer-network).