TEF’s “Eat What We Grow” Campaign Promotes Local Consumption

The “Eat What We Grow” campaign, which was started by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), stemmed from the Virtual Agricultural Clearing House (VACH), a programme established by the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA) in April 2016.

As organizations representing various entities in the local tourism sector, the SLHTA and TEF place a great deal of importance on strengthening the existing linkages between agriculture and tourism. So strong are these linkages that hundreds of farmers depend on the hospitality sector which purchases a fair share of their produce.

Since 2016, the SLHTA has made a significant impact in bridging the growing divide between tourism and agriculture. The WhatsApp platform on which the VACH operates provides an avenue for hundreds of farmers to upload information on agricultural produce available for sale and allows nearly two dozen hotels and two large food and beverage companies to upload demand information.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the SLHTA and TEF felt that, especially during these trying times, people needed to eat healthy and nutritious foods, primarily agricultural produce grown locally. Therefore, the “Eat What We Grow” campaign was a timely initiative.

The “Eat What We Grow” campaign was launched in July 2020 at the SLHTA Secretariat in Rodney Heights. Among those in attendance were acclaimed musician and Goodwill Ambassador Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, local farmer Moses Renee, and SLHTA’s Chief Executive Officer Noorani Azeez, all of whom spoke to the need for healthy eating and supporting the local economy.

Hinkson also created a jingle for the “Eat What We Grow” campaign, and media house All Biz, which did a video for the jingle showcasing farms and local chefs.

Subsequently, when the “Recover Saint Lucia” initiative was launched and Azeez was chosen to spearhead the Food and Safety Committee, the “Eat What We Grow” campaign video was edited to include “Recover Saint Lucia” as a key partner, especially since both initiatives dovetailed in many ways.

The “Eat What We Grow” campaign also aims to create awareness about the wholesomeness of locally-produced foods and the need to support our local farmers, chefs and others whose livelihoods depend on the agricultural sector. Another aim of the campaign was the importance of starting small kitchen gardens to reduce on the food bill.