How a Holiday in #PuertoRico Became a Calling to Change its Future

Seedling

The Story of Fusion Farms

Three years ago, a couple from San Diego, California, went on holiday to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. They indulged in the island’s delicious local foods, went for walks on its spectacular beaches, and enjoyed cocktails against the island’s brilliant backdrop of turquoise water, orange sunsets, and emerald green forests. In other words, they did what most visitors to Puerto Rico do. However, for entrepreneur and real estate expert, Kendell Lang and his wife and business partner Lisa Jander, a seed was planted and the idea for a new future was born…

Struck by Beauty and Potential

Puerto Rico is a stunning, tropical island paradise in the Caribbean Sea. Source: www.Pixabay.com

Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, Kendell Lang has a long-standing passion for and interest in the life sciences. It was on their first month-long visit to Puerto Rico that Kendell and Lisa were struck by the island’s abundant natural resources, beauty, and population of willing, hard-working people. The beginnings of a dream were born: the dream to start a farm. And yet, they were surprised to learn that close to 80% of the produce consumed on the island was imported. Additionally, the strict import regulations mean that the “fresh” produce that is brought in is extremely poor quality once it finally reaches the island.

Then, in September 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall.

Hurricane Maria and Recovery

Hurricanes are large-scale weather systems that cause widespread damage with their intense wind speeds, torrential rainfall, and associated severe weather. Source: www.Pixabay.com 

Hurricane Maria claimed over 5,000 lives and left almost every farm on the island utterly devastated, and most homes without power. This increased Puerto Rico’s reliance on imported produce – a problem that persists to this day.

The couple made their return to Puerto Rico a few months after the hurricane only to discover a scene that appeared as though the entire island had been run through some sadistic cosmic blender. Enormous 100-year-old trees had been stripped bare and snapped like twigs, power lines and poles were down everywhere, and the roofs had been ripped off houses.

Kendell and Lisa met with locals, workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and contractors from all over the United States to listen to their stories. The accounts of those who had experienced the hurricane were not what they expected. In spite of the damage, carnage, and loss, there were silver linings where most could see only thunderclouds.

“We were humbled and blessed by the openness, positive outlook and outpouring of community support the Puerto Ricans displayed,” says Lisa. “Grateful that their homes made of concrete remained intact despite the missing roofs and personal possessions destroyed or washed away by the flood – the resilience was astounding.”

This solidified the awakening sense of destiny that Kendell and Lisa felt on the island. Conversations between them shifted to questions about how they could be a part of the long-term recovery of Puerto Rico and how they could contribute to its future. The answer lay in farming…but, not the traditional kind.

Fusion Farms is born

The idea to build hurricane-protected indoor, Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) aquaponics farms became the fleshed-out concept behind a new organization and enterprise: Fusion Farms. Here, safe from the weather and under optimal growing conditions, a local team could work to harvest fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even #tilapia, all of which is 100% fresh, pesticide-free, all-natural, non-GMO, affordable, and reliable in supply.

Cherry tomatoes grown in a Controlled Environment Agriculture facility. Source: www.Pixabay.com

“We understood the need for fresh, nutrient-rich food; we recognized that the dilapidated condition of the power grid would be an on-going battle; we knew there would be a language barrier to some degree…but our desire to melt into the wonderful culture and change the narrative for Puerto Rico was stronger than any misgivings we might have had early on,” says Kendell.

Make an Impact: Invest

Hurricane-protected, climate controlled, bio-secure, pesticide-free, fully indoor, mostly off-grid, sustainable, and scalable… these are the buzzwords used by Kendell to describe the new venture he and Lisa are currently launching. And they’ve already made good progress: today, the couple has successfully and permanently moved to Puerto Rico and are hard at work at the task of creating an indoor #aquaponics farm. They’ve also received approval to purchase one of the many abandoned hurricane protected warehouses on the island, and have put together a fully rendered plan of their intended operation.

“This island has so much to give and we would like to give back. Our mission is to create jobs for Puerto Ricans – students, farmers, and other hard-working individuals – and our goal is to help turn the tide of reliance on food imports and traditional farming that is always exposed to the elements,” says Lisa.


You too can become a part of Puerto Rico’s recovery and story.

Help Fusion Farms to turn the tide against poverty and disaster by becoming an investor in this new vision. For more information go to www.fusionfarmspr.com or email Info@FusionFarmsPR.com

Impact #Investing for a Greener Future

A new investment trend is connecting investors with opportunities that fund positive impact enterprises and give big returns

Trying to make a positive difference in the world is not typically considered a lucrative vocation. It’s not exactly an endowment of character to capitalize upon the ill fortunes of a suffering cause, group of people, or the environment. How would such an organization justify pocketing its profit?

Over the course of the past decade, there has been a growing #investment trend that is benefitting the fortunes of the cause and the people who spend their money on it. It’s called impact investing.

“Impact investing means putting your money behind companies that generate positive environmental and social outcomes, while also trying to earn meaningful financial returns,” explains Lily Trager of Morgan Stanley, Wealth Management’s Director of Impact Investing.

Making a Difference; Making Money

So, instead of investing your money in traditional funds and stocks, you invest dollars in organizations and companies that affect social and environmental change. In other words, impact investing is the intersection of profit and purpose.

This isn’t a niche concept or budding idea. According to the report “Sustainable Signals: Asset Owners Embrace Sustainability” by Morgan Stanley: “Sustainable investing has gone from a niche investment idea to attracting enough capital to start having an impact on global challenges at a meaningful scale. Globally, more than $22.8 trillion are invested sustainably, representing more than $1 in every $4 under professional management.”

Finding the Right Impact Investment

Installing solar panels to establish a source of clean, renewable energy. Source: www.Pixabay.com

Investors looking to turn a profit while also making a difference should be on the lookout for strong organizations that stand out as authorities in social or environmental fields. These are the companies that innovate products and solutions that are geared at solving problems that range from climate change and lack of access to clean water to food shortages and disease.

A prime example of such an investment avenue is Fusion Farms, an organization in the Mayagüez district of Western #PuertoRico that is focused on building indoor, hurricane protected Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) aquaponics farms. These farms, which combine hydroponics and aquaculture to produce a reliable source of fresh, non-GMO fruits, vegetables, and fish, would be a boon to the island and its people, which are only just beginning to recover from the historic and disastrous Hurricane Maria in 2017.

In addition to building such farms, which would secure Puerto Rico’s food sovereignty and create hundreds of jobs for local farmworkers, Fusion Farms aims to establish a sustainable, scalable, and repeatable model and educational training program that can be applied elsewhere in similar locations with vulnerable populations and struggling economies.

Hydroponic farms grow leafy green vegetables like lettuce. Source: www.Pixabay.com

What this means for the investor is that growth isn’t capped at the completion of the first CEA facility in Puerto Rico, but rather has virtually limitless potential considering the applications of this model in stricken, impoverished villages, towns, islands, and nations across the globe.

“Impact investing has grown tremendously in large part because investors aren’t being asked to accept subpar returns,” says Lily Trager. “Plus, positive environmental and social outcomes are increasingly more measurable.”

Investing Dollars for Good

#Impactinvesting is an important channel through which organizations striving to make a difference can acquire the necessary funding, while also providing investors with big returns. We all like the idea of a green future – green is not only the color of money, but also a healthy environment – and one way we can all play our part is to invest in companies that generate positive environmental and social outcomes.


For more information about Fusion Farms and to become an investor in this opportunity, go to https://www.startengine.com/fusionfarms  or email Info@FusionFarmsPR.com

Hurricane Protected Farming in #PuertoRico

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?

Why does Puerto Rico import 90% of its fresh produce needs in order to feed its population?

One answer: hurricane damage.

Puerto Rico lies on a collision course with the hurricanes and tropical cyclones that, every June through to November, spin off the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, leaving the island in a constant state of rehabilitation.

Then, in September 2017, a hurricane of mammoth intensity made landfall on the tiny Caribbean island, laying total and utter waste to hectare upon hectare of farmlands and orchards, while also killing 5,000 people and leaving the island without power for months in some places. Hurricane Maria was the worst natural disaster on record to affect Puerto Rico, which, to this day, struggles to get back on its feet. The effects it had on the island’s food sovereignty – on its ability to produce the necessary fresh produce to feed its people – was near fatal.

Storm damage in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Source: www.Gizmodo.com

Hurricane Maria was a Category 5 storm with wind speeds in excess of 175 miles per hour. Yet, even less intense storms rain down extensive destruction: torrential downpours, storm surge flooding, lightning strikes, high wind speeds, and more. With time, investment, and respite, the island of Puerto Rico could rebuild itself, its farmlands, and its ailing economy… but recovery from the past does not ensure security for the future.

In a tropical region in which hurricanes are a certainty, a permanent solution is required.

But how can you protect farms from hurricanes?

Aquaponics: Innovative Farming Technique

On Puerto Rico, there are hundreds of abandoned, government-owned concrete warehouses, some of which were built in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Their sturdy build has ensured their survival, even against the ravages of Category 5 storms. What this spells for the team at Fusion Farms are two things:

(1) The potential indoor space to establish a greenhouse for growing fresh produce, and

(2) One that is hurricane protected and sheltered from damaging winds and excessive rainfall.

Not even Hurricane Maria could fell these concrete warehouses and so they are a proven, hurricane protected venue for indoor farming.

The logic doesn’t end there, though. A more potent and productive farming technique called aquaponics combines hydroponics (indoor, climate-controlled agriculture) and aquaculture (fish farming) to set up a looped system that produces both fresh fruits and vegetables and a source of lean protein: fish.

tilapia

Tilapia: the freshwater fish that will be used in Fusion Farm’s aquaponic facility. Source: www.Pixabay.com

The solution proposed by Fusion Farms sees the hydroponics portion of the farm housed within the concrete warehouse, where it cannot be affected by high winds or excessive rainfall, while the aquaponics portion – the fish farm – will be built underground in circular ponds with a high margin to insure against flooding. Both systems will be carefully controlled by the team at Fusion Farms so that they are sheltered from nature’s fury, as well as outside influences to protect the lifecycle of the farm.

Additionally, the energy required to run the farm will be sourced from solar panels and supplemented by wind turbines, so in the event that the power is cut, the farm can remain productive.

Re-establishing Puerto Rico’s Food Sovereignty

On an island that is located on a well-worn hurricane path, it is essential to start building farms that can withstand severe storms. It is essential if Puerto Rico is to produce a reliable, fresh, non-GMO, and 100% pesticide-free source of fruits, vegetables, and protein for its people. Fusion Farms is one of the first organizations to step forward and not only propose this solution but attempt to source the funding to convert a series of abandoned warehouses into hurricane protected controlled aquaponics environments.

The goal is to re-establish Puerto Rico’s food sovereignty and ensure that its population is fed and its farmers have work, even in the event of another natural disaster.


For more information about Fusion Farms and to become an investor in this opportunity, go to www.fusionfarmspr.com or email Info@FusionFarmsPR.com