UVI Research and Technology Park Inc. (RTPark) Announces First Catalyst Fund Loan; Bring AgTech Company’s Farmshelf Labs into the Territory

Funding will immediately develop sustainable food systems, careers and technological innovations on the territory.

ST. CROIX, US Virgin Islands, November 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Technology meets agriculture today, fulfilling a vital and universal need right out of the kitchen Peter Chapman, Chief Executive Officer of RTPark, announced the program’s first capacity-accelerating loan through its Catalyst Fund. Funding will make it possible Brooklyn-based Farmshelf to create an RTPark member company, Farmshelf Labs, in the US Virgin Islands.

Farmshelf’s bookshelf-sized smart indoor farms allow anyone to grow leafy greens, herbs, and flowering plants wherever they live, work, or eat. They’re small enough to fit in a restaurant or at home, and powerful enough to deliver pounds of fresh produce every week.
Farmshelf is driving an evolution of the entire system of how communities grow and distribute fresh produce.

Chapman notes, “RTPark’s focus on Ag-Tech is motivated not only by a need to diversify the regional economy, but also by a strong desire to increase local food production. The fact that the USVI imports about 98% of our food is an obstacle to greater local economic independence and the stabilization of comparatively high food prices.”

The company’s mission is to enable anyone to grow their own food, wherever they are, and will be a game-changing innovation for import-intensive regions around the world with limited arable land and indigenous food production, like the USVI. Farmshelf designs the smart farms in Brooklyn, NY and manufactures them in Poughkeepsie, New York at a company that employs US veterans.

Additionally, they offer a monthly subscription that includes seed pods, nutrients, and remote unit monitoring (via dozens of sensors and cameras) — everything needed to easily grow 60 different crops like cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, kale, and arugula. Farmshelf Labs, based in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, thanks to the support of the Catalyst Fund, will be hiring employees in customer success, sales, marketing, crop science and operations beginning next month and hopes to have eight full-time employees by the end of next year.

“Having been coming to St. Croix for 30 years, I have a deep connection not only to the culture, community and natural beauty of the territory, but also to its current momentum as an exceptional place to do business. My family decided to move here full time in 2020 and it was immediately clear that part of Farmshelf should move to the area as well. USVI needs us and we need them, and I can’t think of a better place to build a technology-enabled company that will transform the way communities feed themselves.” Jean Paul CyrillosCo-founder of Farmshelf.

“The government of virgin islands is excited about the opportunities RTPark’s Catalyst Fund offers to boost economic prosperity in the region. We are particularly excited to welcome Farmshelf into our community as their goals closely align with our governance – expanding our resources to ensure food security for our residents while utilizing some of the latest technologies in the industry. This move toward greater nutritional self-sufficiency not only for our VI families, but also the potential to scale this initiative across the region with even greater economic returns for our people is tremendous,” said the Governor Albert Bryan.

RT Parks Peter Chapman also notes that there is more to look forward to from the Fund. “This is one of the first transactions approved by the Credit Review Committee for the Catalyst Fund, established to support large scale corporate ventures and real estate development projects. We are grateful to both the 34th Legislature and the Bryan administration for having the seed funding to capitalize on this much-needed revolving credit pool. The fund specifically provides patient, flexible gap financing for initiatives with the potential to create quality jobs in growth industries for residents of the Virgin Islands and to facilitate capital investment in the area.”

Ronnie N JohnsonRTPark’s Chief Credit Officer, said, “Our first Catalyst Fund loan to Farmshelf will create new employment opportunities and tax revenue generated by the company and the people it hires!

USVI-based Farmshelf will provide remote monitoring services to the growing systems and customers of US-based Farmshelf Corporation. Farmshelf’s next-generation growing systems will arrive at the USVI in February to enable businesses and individuals to grow their own food and to provide educational and technical career opportunities for students.

About the UVI RT Park

RTPark is an innovative, internationally recognized economic development organization dedicated to contributing to the diversification and expansion of the USVI economy through efforts to encourage the attraction, retention and growth of technological, knowledge-based and sustainable farming businesses within the Territory. Learn more at www.uvirtpark.net.

RT Park
Aminah Salem [email protected]
Telephone: 340-474-0922

Farmshelf Labs
Jean-Paul (JP) Kyrillos, co-founder [email protected]
Phone: 917-251-1559



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SOURCE Research and Technology Park UVI


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