UVI to mark World Food Day with learning and fun
Published: October 14, 2013
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The territory will pause with millions around the world on Sunday to observe World Food Day.
World Food Day - officially celebrated this year on Oct. 16, but observed worldwide throughout the month - focuses on efforts to bring attention to the plight of the hungry and undernourished in the territory, the region and around the world.
There are more than 450 events celebrated around the United States, and in the territory, the University of the Virgin Islands will be holding its World Food Day event with the theme "Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition."
The event will feature information about melons, avocados and aquaculture in the territory.
As has been the tradition, the World Food Day event is planned on the grounds of the St. Croix campus from noon to 6 p.m.
Event coordinator Clarice Clarke said last year's turnout was the largest in recent history, and organizers are hoping that this year the event will draw a crowd of anywhere from 500 to 800 people, as it did last year.
"Last year, the lawn was three rows deep with parked cars. It was one of the biggest and we hope to do the same again this year," she said.
UVI's Cooperative Extension Service organizes the day along with the UVI Agricultural Experiment Station and the V.I. Agriculture Department.
Admission to the event is free, but everyone coming is asked to donate at least one can, box or bag of non-perishable food for the day's food drive.
While the food drive will be in full swing Sunday, the bulk of the food is being collected now as hundreds of the island's children have been bringing in non-perishable food items to their schools during the last few weeks.
All the collected food is donated to local food banks, which have been providing hot meals for the less fortunate in the community for decades with the assistance of events like this.
Clarke said World Food Day is a great community and family event and one of the major highlights of this year's event will be the sixth annual 4-H Youth Super Chef Competition, which is expected to bring out teams of junior and senior high school students competing to see who can create the best meals using specific ingredients.
Student participants will represent the Corporate Extension Service's 4-H Club, junior high school students from Good Hope Country Day, Iqra Academy and St. Patrick's Catholic School. High school students from St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center and St. Joseph's Catholic School will also participate.
Clarke said teams typically include about seven students each, with four designated as the primary cooks.
Judges score the teams on how they work together and manage themselves in the kitchen.
Some of the excitement comes from the questions posed by judges about the dishes, the origins of the foods used and their dietary qualities, such as vitamins and nutrients, according to Clarke, who said the students are encouraged to do some research to prepare for the judging.
The day will also include a "Melon Spree Competition" and workshops focusing on avocados, cucurbits, butternut squash and aquaculture systems for the territory. Workshop participants will get free samples of dishes featuring these crops and free vegetable seedlings also will be distributed.
A vendors' food court, farmers market, petting zoo for children and tours of UVI's Agriculture Experimental Station field facility are expected to be major attractions, as they have been in the past, according to Clarke.
Entertainment for the day will feature music by the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra, the University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix campus band and DJ Porter.
Performances also are planned by the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies and St. Croix Martial Arts.
For more information, call Clarke at 692-4060.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.