Why Puerto Rico?
In a region routinely slammed by severe tropical storms, an island on its knees searches for a permanent solution to its food crisis
Located in the equatorial region within the Caribbean Sea, the island of Puerto Rico is a lush, tropical paradise with plentiful, naturally occurring food sources. But with this rich natural heritage, abundant fresh water, and a population of seasoned farmers ready and willing to work, why does agriculture suffer so terribly here? Tragically, Puerto Rico’s family-run farms have been destroyed by frequent hurricanes and government corruption and a lack of aid and awareness has made it nearly impossible for rehabilitation.
Fusion Farms is standing behind Puerto Rican family farmers to help solve the food crisis.
We stand behind Puerto Rican family farmers to help change their fate and that of the island’s communities with our sustainable, hurricane-protected aquaponics farms. Let’s take a closer look at the problem and why Puerto Rico is in such dire need of a new, innovative farming model.
The Food Crisis
Puerto Rico is currently importing the vast majority of its organic produce from the United States, which travels a minimum of 1,500 miles for weeks at a time.
Food that is expensive, sub-par in quality, freshness, and nutrition, and costly to the environment: it seems incomprehensible that bad food can be a problem on a fertile, tropical island like Puerto Rico. Yet, here we are and the solution to the sore lack of locally running farms means that the island has to ship fresh produce from abroad. But this poses a myriad of problems for both U.S. citizens on Puerto Rico and for the global environment.
Food miles: Every mile that food has to travel to get from farm to plate exhausts greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global environmental issues like climate change. Purchasing fresh produce from a local farmers’ market comes with a price tag of only a few food miles – certainly no more than 10 or 20, whereas purchasing “fresh” produce from a grocery store on Puerto Rico comes with a price tag of several thousands of food miles – often 1,000, 2,000, and more!
Freshness: Travelling from the United States, Mexico, Chile, and other countries from where Puerto Rico receives its imports takes time – days and weeks. Then, when it arrives in port, it’s forced to languish in customs for further days and weeks while the usually lengthy bureaucratic processes play out. By the time Puerto Ricans gain access to this “fresh” produce, it’s often already in the beginning stages of rot.
Nutrition: Fruits and vegetables rapidly lose their nutritional value with time. Exposure to heat, light, and oxygen causes the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients to leach or degrade, which means that by the time this produce is available for purchase, it’s lost a substantial amount of nutrition.
Spinach can lose 90% of its vitamin C content within 24 hours of harvest, and 50% of its folate and carotenoids within a week. By the time Puerto Rico receives its imports of “fresh” fruit and vegetables, it’s often WEEKS old. How nutritious is the food you’re eating?
Cost: To add insult to injury, fresh produce is substantially more expensive on Puerto Rico because it has to be imported and because the island remains under an archaic shipping law (the Jones Act) that decrees that only American-made, owned, captained, and crewed ships may serve the island. This forces them to import via more expensive Jones Act ships, rather than more affordable transport ships operated by other countries.
It’s quite clear that imports are killing Puerto Rico and delivering bad food to the U.S. citizens living here. Fusion Farms, however, is introducing the solution.
Bringing locally grown, fresh produce to Puerto Rico
Fusion Farms aims to establish Puerto Rico’s food sovereignty and eliminate its reliance on imported fresh produce by building hurricane-protected aquaponics farms on the island. Through this method of sustainable, closed environment aquaponics and agriculture (CEA), we can establish a reliable, year-round harvest of fresh leafy greens, herbs, fruits, vegetables, and fish protein that are:
- 100% proudly Puerto Rican
- Farm-to-table fresh
- Bursting with nutrients and flavor
- Pesticide and additive-free
- Absolutely delicious
- Available at stable, affordable prices
Extensive scientific research on looped aquaponic ecosystems has paved the way for repeatable, scalable food production, which represents an innovative advance in the way food supplies will be grown in the future. And in few places on Earth is such a system so desperately needed as it is on Puerto Rico.