A Wonderful Week of Firsts: Fusion Farms’ Receives Keys to Facility and First Ever Equipment Delivery

They say the first step on any journey is the biggest. And while Fusion Farms has been motoring on up that proverbial mountainside for over a year now, laying the extensive business, financial, legal, and administrative foundations for our vertical aquaponics farm in #Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, this past week has seen what has felt like the first step on a new chapter of our story.

Kendell holds up the keys to our hurricane protected PRIDCO building, the soon-to-be home of our indoor vertical aquaponics farm.


On June 30th, Kendell Lang and Lisa Jander, the husband-and-wife team behind Fusion Farms, were officially handed the keys to our pilot facility, a vast concrete building, which we have leased from #PRIDCO – the Puerto Rican Development Company. There are many of these buildings located across the island and have been standing strong, even through severe weather events like Hurricane Maria, since they were built in the 1960’s. It’s inside this very facility that Fusion Farms will be establishing Puerto Rico’s first indoor vertical #aquaponics farm!

The next development that happened this week – and this may seem like a small step but it is an extremely significant one – is that we received our very first delivery of the equipment that will be necessary to start and run our #farm.

The delivery truck pulls into Fusion Farms’ yard


The lawn mower is offloaded into our facility’s delivery bay


Loading the rainwater collection tanks


The delivery consisted of two 400-gallon water storage tanks for the collection of fresh rainwater, a dual propane gas generator with gas tanks, a specialised refrigerator for our seed library, and a power pressure washer for cleaning. Oh, and a tractor lawn mower to keep the yard’s thick grass in check! *Stay tuned for pictures of Lisa riding it with a glass of wine in her hand!

These two steps – taking possession of our #hurricane protected facility, the near future home of our vertical aquaponics farms and receiving our first delivery of equipment – constitute the first physical manifestations of the hard work Kendell and Lisa have tirelessly channelled into this dream of theirs. And that dream is to establish a hurricane protected farm on #PuertoRico that can give back to the island by providing a reliable, locally grown source of fresh and healthy leafy greens, herbs, vegetables, and fish.

Having recently been awarded the maximum #solar energy grant amount from PRIDCO for the purpose of installing solar panels, Kendell and Lisa aim to go as “green” as possible, using mostly #renewable energy sources and rainwater to drive their farm. The assistance of a propane power generator will ensure that, regardless of the weather or Puerto Rico’s unstable power grid, Fusion Farms can continue to grow fresh produce.

“Doing well by doing good is our motto,” says Kendell Lang, CEO and co-founder of Fusion Farms. “We believe that successful businesses fulfil an important purpose and, in our case, that purpose is to help uplift Puerto Rico’s struggling economy and combat its reliance on imported food from the mainland. By establishing a reliable, local source of fresh greens and fish protein that can withstand the Caribbean’s notoriously tempestuous weather, we can play a part in getting Puerto Rico to its feet a little faster.”

The current Fusion Farms facility, which is based in Mayaguez, will be the first of many if Kendell and Lisa’s pilot program is a success. Together, the couple aim to flesh out a repeatable, scalable model for hurricane protected #vertical aquaponics farms that can be applied to other PRIDCO buildings on Puerto Rico, on other islands in the Caribbean, or anywhere in the world really.

“If this follows the trajectory we’re fighting for, it’s possible that we’ll be able to establish these farms in remote areas across the world that struggle enormously to gain access to fresh, healthy greens and protein,” says Lisa, co-founder and Director of Operations of Fusion Farms.

For now, we celebrate many firsts: our first ever delivery of equipment and the first physical step towards establishing Puerto Rico’s first ever indoor, hurricane protected, and sustainable vertical aquaponics farm!

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

Kendell takes Fusion Farm’s new lawnmower for a test drive.

Four Food Frontiers Changing the World

The global population is relentlessly expanding and the amount of free space left for agriculture is dwindling. The solution is not to hack into the natural environment – if anything, it’s to withdraw from it and allow it to recover. The solution, rather, is to get smart, think outside the box, and start innovating. The following four food frontiers are perfect examples of just that and they are paving the way forward for a healthy and environmental and animal-friendly future.

Welcome to the Age of Aquaponics

Aquaponics is farming without the acreage. Oh, and also the pesticides, grueling dusk-to-dawn hours, and gargantuan water bill. Combining fish farming (aquaculture) and the indoor, controlled climate agriculture of plants (hydroponics), aquaponics is fast becoming a powerful solution to feeding today’s exploding populations, without putting a strain on the environment.

The fish provide the nutrient-rich water the plants need to grow and the plants filter the water for the fish. This all takes place in a closed, climate controlled environment that’s typically powered by solar energy, which optimises plant success (without the need for pesticides) and therefore yield irrespective of the weather and climate outside.

Additionally, aquaponics uses a fraction of the fertilizer, energy, labour, and water that traditional agriculture uses and has proven an exceptionally successful way to produce nutritious, non-GMO fruits, vegetables, and herbs in any kind of environment, from the heart of a bustling city to the middle of a desert. The ability to set up an aquaponics farm of any size (for a family, a community, or an entire city), anywhere in the world is what has positioned this farming technique at the very frontier of all the food trends

“Aquaponics is a fascinating and sustainable method for producing healthy food with minimal impact and effort,” says Gabriel Blanchet, an MIT student and co-founder of Grove Labs. “We believe aquaponics will play a critical role in sustainably producing food in both developed and developing countries.”

Fusion Farms is pioneering aquaponics agriculture in Puerto Rico.

Salads in Space

Mizuna lettuce growing aboard the International Space Station. Source: nasa.gov.


Lasagne in a tube and vacuum-packed chicken à la king is so last century. Nowadays, astronauts in space can turn to living gardens for fresh, healthy greens. In 2002, students at Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory built the Lada greenhouse and used the Russian Progress spacecraft to courier it to the International Space Station (ISS).

This space-friendly greenhouse provides the perfect growing environment for seeds placed inside wick-like structures embedded in a clay material. The clay conveys water to the roots, LED lights mimic sunshine, and fans and air conditioners create desirable temperatures and ventilation.

For now, the Lada greenhouse provides astronauts with freshly grown vegetables and leaves and, according to Gail Bingham, a senior scientist at the Space Dynamics Laboratory and lead engineer for Lada, a psychological break from the barrenness of space. “It’s really hard on the psyches of the astronauts to live in a bare container—the only living thing they encounter is the fungus in their armpits.” Charming.

The system, however, can be used anywhere and given its success in space, might offer a future food solution to colonisation on the moon or another planet!

The sky’s the limit for vertical farming

Lettuce grown in an indoor vertical farming system. Source: By Valcenteu – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

In cities where there is precious little square footage available for agriculture, vertical farming is stepping in to offer an efficient and productive system for large volumes of fresh greens. This technique involves stacking growing trays or racks one above the other inside a closed, climate-controlled greenhouse. So, instead of producing a single “storey’s” harvest, as is the case with traditional agriculture, vertical farming produces multiple storeys of harvests.

The biggest indoor vertical farm in the world is located in Newark, New Jersey, and is set to produce around two million pounds of vegetables and herbs each year using a combination of LED lights and soil-less growing techniques.

Fusion Farms will combine aquaponics and vertical farming techniques to create an optimal and exponentially more productive agricultural system than any other on the island of Puerto Rico.

Animal-friendly meat

With plant-based and vegan diets becoming “all the rage”, scientists and engineers have been hard at work trying to develop a product that looks and tastes like meat but is 100% animal-free. No, we’re not talking about meat substitutes created from tofu, soy, or beans but rather a kind of protein substance created from plant materials that replicates the satisfying experience of eating meat, without sending a single animal to the slaughterhouse.

Many products have tried and failed to satiate the meat-lovers’ appetite but one of the more successful of these is called Beyond Meat, which mimics the fibrous structure of animal tissue by running a blend of plant proteins and water through an industrial extruder. The aim of these endeavours is to reduce society’s reliance on meat products and the environmental and ethical issues that come hand-in-hand with the industry.

About Fusion Farms

Fusion Farms proudly operates at the food frontier by combining elements of hydroponics, aquaculture, vertical farming, and renewable energy in a fully contained and controlled environment to grow fresh, healthy, 100% pesticide-free, and non-GMO vegetables, herbs, and fruits. 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.

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

You Are (and Feel) What You Eat!

Nutritional Psychiatry is Treating Mental Health Problems with the Right Diet

Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of several books that address food and mental health, is a big fan of oysters. Not because he likes to order them off the menu but rather because they are rich in vitamin B12, which studies suggest may help to reduce brain shrinkage. Oysters are also packed with long chain omega-3 fatty acids, deficiencies of which have been linked to higher risk for suicide and depression.

Given the evident connections between nutrition, the brain, and mental health, Dr. Ramsey has largely pioneered an emerging field of medicine that prescribes food – and the nutrients that we are missing in our diet – to counteract depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The field is termed nutritional psychiatry and its practitioners, like Dr. Ramsey, together with chef and food coach Samantha Elkrief, counsel patients on how better eating can ease their particular mental health challenges.

You are, after, what you eat.

Bad diet = impaired mental health

It makes sense that any deficiency in the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats that are essential to brain health would affect its function. This influence extends much further than simple performance (the ability to think quickly and efficiently, for example). It also influences our mental health. It therefore stands to reason that consuming the nutrition our brain needs to function optimally would also improve mental health. Determining the precise pathway this happens for each patient is, of course, the challenge that Dr. Ramsey has taken on.

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a dominant driver of disability for Americans aged 15 to 44. And it’s Dr. Ramsey’s argument that a poor diet is a major factor contributing to this epidemic. The irony, he says, is that “most Americans are overfed in calories yet starved of the vital array of micronutrients that our brains need, many of which are found in common plant foods.”

The results of a 2017 survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 10% of adults meet the minimal daily federal recommendations for fruit and vegetables: at least one-and-a-half to two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables per day. Read full report here.

The usual approach to treating mental health issues is a combination of pharmacological, using prescription drugs like antidepressants, and talk therapy. The argument being made by Dr. Ramsey and other proponents of nutritional psychiatry is that the right food choices – mostly, plant-based – are an indispensible component of the treatment approach. Americans change the way they eat all the time: to slim down, lower their cholesterol, and control blood sugar levels, etc. Yet, few pay attention to diet when it comes to the organ that requires the most energy in the body: the brain.

What does a mental health friendly diet look like?

Our understanding of the impact of diet on mental functioning is in its infancy but studies are being conducted around the world on this subject and the outcomes are indicating that plant-based diets are the way to go:

A 2016 American Journal of Public Health study examined more than 12,000 Australians and found that those who increased the amount of fruits and vegetables they ate reported being happier and more satisfied with their life.

Another study of 422 young adults from New Zealand and the United States showed higher levels of mental health and well being for those who ate more fresh fruits and vegetables. Interestingly, the same observations did not extend to those who consumed canned fruits and vegetables.

 “We think this is due to the higher nutrient content of raw fruits and vegetables, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C, which are vulnerable to heat degradation,” said Tamlin Conner, a study author and senior lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

In 2017, Felice Jacka, Professor of Nutritional and Epidemiological Psychiatry at Deakin University, performed one of the first randomized controlled trials to test whether diet could be used to help treat depression. In the study, the participants who were coached to follow a Mediterranean diet (rich in whole grains, legumes, seafood, and nutrient-dense leafy vegetables) for three months reported mood improvements and lower levels of anxiety. Those who received more traditional therapy showed no improvements.

“Our imaging studies show that the brains of people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet typically look younger, have larger volumes [of healthy gut bacteria], and are more metabolically active than people who eat a more typical Western diet,” said Dr. Lisa Mosconi, director of the Women’s Brain Initiative at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. Such brain benefits may be protective against the onset of dementia, she said.

Changes you can make today

According to Mosconi, “there is no one diet that fits all” but there are changes you can make today that will have a definite impact on whole body (and mental) health:

  • Eliminate processed foods from your diet. Processed foods are those that have had a series of mechanical or chemical operations performed on it to change or preserve it, for example: frozen pizza, microwaveable dinners, jarred sauces and gravies, deli meats, canned fruits, etc.
  • Minimize meat and dairy. Diets high in animal products have been linked to an increased risk in heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Eat more whole foods. These are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. They include whole grains, tubers, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Fresh, fatty fish is also considered a whole food.

It’s important to remember that not everyone is the same and while a particular diet may help improve the mental health of one patient, another might require a slightly different approach. It’s also important to understand that dietary changes and improvements are considered an adjunctive (add-on) to the traditional mental health treatment approaches.

“It’s about slowing down and becoming more mindful, noticing your body and noticing how you feel when you eat certain foods,” says Samantha Elkrief, the food coach who assists Dr. Ramsey.

Fusion Farms is passionate about, and supports the move towards healthy, whole food diets. For more information about Fusion Farms and to become an investor in this opportunity, go to www.fusionfarmspr.com or email Info@FusionFarmsPR.com

Imports are Killing Puerto Rico and Delivering Bad Food to its Citizens

Puerto Rico is forced to import 90% of its fresh produce because its family-run farms have been destroyed by frequent hurricanes. A further lack of aid and awareness has left the agricultural sector in ruins. Fusion Farms is standing behind Puerto Rican family farmers to help solve the food crisis.

Fusion Farms is standing behind Puerto Rican family farmers to help change their fate and that of the island’s communities. Puerto Rico is facing a #foodcrisis and is forced to import 90% of its fresh produce from foreign shores, paying exorbitant amounts of money for it. Furthermore, given the often thousands of miles this produce is required to cover (#foodmiles) and the amount of time it spends in Puerto Rican customs, its often already beginning to rot by the time it arrives on grocery store shelves.

Puerto Rico is currently importing upwards of 90% 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: how can bad food be a problem on a fertile, tropical island like #PuertoRico? The answer, in part, is the Atlantic Ocean hurricanes that have destroyed much of the island’s agriculture. With many of these being family-run farms (and with disaster aid from the mainland being in short supply), they have been unable to recover. Consequently, Puerto Rico relies on imports from foreign shores.

Discover the devastation of Hurricane Maria (September 2017) on Puerto Rico.

Impact on Food Quality

Shipping fresh produce from abroad poses a myriad of problems, not only for U.S. citizens on Puerto Rico but also 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 #climatechange. 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. 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 rotting.

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 #JonesAct) that decrees that only American-made, owned, captained, and crewed ships may serve the island.

It’s quite clear that imports are killing Puerto Rico and delivering bad food to the U.S. citizens living here. Thankfully, there is a solution….

Fusion Farms: Bringing Whole, Locally Grown Fresh Produce to Puerto Rico

#FusionFarms aims to establish the Puerto Rico’s food sovereignty and relieve its reliance on imported fresh produce by building hurricane protected aquaponics farms on the island. Through this method of sustainable, closed environment aquaponics (CEA), this start-up farming initiative will establish a reliable, locally grown source of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish protein.

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.

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

Global Aquaponics Market To Grow at a CAGR of +11% by 2023 

Aquaponics

The latest market research report forecast by Technavio indicates that the global #aquaponics market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 11% between now and 2023, representing an incremental growth of $411 million. One of the key drivers for this market is the growing inclination towards controlled environment farming in the global community.

Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company that focuses on emerging market trends and provides insights to help businesses identify opportunities and develop effective strategies to optimize their market positions. Their report serves as a valuable indicator that #ControlledEnvironmentFarming techniques like aquaponics is the way of the future and, for those with the necessary foresight, a potentially lucrative investment opportunity.

What is Controlled Environment Agriculture?

Controlled environment farming or agriculture (#CEA) is the process of growing plants inside a greenhouse or a grow room, where all atmospheric and environmental variables, such as humidity, temperature, nutrients, pH levels, light, etc. can be controlled. Aquaponics is one such method of CEA that leverages the natural relationship between fish and plants to grow crops all year round, out of soil, and in the nutrient-rich wastewaters produced by the fish. 

How do aquaponic systems work? Learn more.

“As aquaponics does not require soil, the plants can be grown on rooftops, rocky surfaces, and other dry areas,” explains a senior analyst at Technavio for research on agricultural equipment.

What this means is that aquaponics farming can become a successful source of fresh, healthy, sustainable food (both plant and fish protein) in most environments and remote locations on Earth, provided there is a sufficient energy and water to feed the system.

The Way Forward

The benefits of CEA are that growing conditions can be optimized to produce the best possible harvest in any environment, often without the use of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and other undesirable additives. It also optimizes the use of space – since crops can be grown in vertical rack systems, one on top of the other – and labor, water, energy, nutrients, and cost of operating, while still producing a bountiful harvest.

In essence, controlled environment farming is the way forward for a planet that is fast becoming over-populated and running out of the fertile lands and natural food resources needed. It’s a way we can cater for the increasing food demand without further damaging the environment. In fact, it reduces our current exploitation of land and resources, while also drastically reducing food miles, our carbon footprint, and pollution.

Global aquaponics market: About the Report

The global aquaponics market research report by Technavio provides an in-depth analysis of the prominent factors influencing the market, including drivers, opportunities, trends, and industry-specific challenges. The report provides market segmentation by application (aquaculture and hydroponics), technique (Deep Water Culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), and media-filled bed), and by region (the Americas; Europe, Middle East, and Africa; and Asia-Pacific).

Acquire the global aquaponics market report here.

Another of the report’s significant findings was that the Americas held the largest share of the global aquaponics market in 2018, accounting for close to 53% share, followed by EMEA and APAC respectively. The region is expected to continue to dominate the market during the forecast period of 2018 to 2023. It also found that the market is highly fragmented with many players occupying the market share.

Fusion Farms Puerto Rico and Aquaponics

Technavio’s latest report on the global aquaponics market is particularly significant to the work start-up organization Fusion Farms is doing in #PuertoRico. Located in the beautiful Mayaguez district of Western Puerto Rico, Fusion Farms is making use of existing PRIDCO facilities to sustainably grow a year-round harvest of fresh, and 100% pesticide-free produce grown from organic seed that is high in local demand. The concrete facilities themselves are hurricane protected, which is essential on a Caribbean island that lost vast tracts of farmland to devastating hurricanes in the past few years and that continues to import upwards of 80% of its fresh produce as a result.

Learn more about the work Fusion Farms is doing.

Through its aquaponics venture, Fusion Farms aims to restore #FoodSovereignty to Puerto Rico and, should the model prove to be successful, will export the concept to similar nations across the globe; nations that are struggling to establish a local, #sustainable, and reliable harvest of fresh produce and fish protein due to environmental, political, and/or social problems.

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

Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares to Hold Press Conference at Fusion Farms Facility

Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares

With innumerable trials and obstacles safely behind them, the husband-and-wife team behind the hurricane-protected #aquaponics farming initiative, Fusion Farms, can finally celebrate a well and hard-earned success. This coming Tuesday, May 21st 2019, Kendell Lang and Lisa Jander together with the island of Puerto Rico will be celebrating at a Press Conference at their pilot facility in Mayagüez, and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares will be attending.

A dream long in the making

Since their first visit to the spectacularly beautiful Caribbean island several years ago, Kendell and Lisa have dreamed about moving to #PuertoRico and establishing a sustainable agricultural initiative that would – in some way –contribute to the island’s recovery. In 2018, they made the move from San Diego, California and after more than a year of hard toil against the monumental tasks of fund-raising and interpreting government grants and incentives, and completing bank applications, they managed to secure the first Fusion Farms facility in Mayagüez, a municipality in western Puerto Rico.  With the help of #PRIDCO, #USDA and the Department of Agriculture, to name a few, Fusion Farms is well on the way to pioneering a sustainable indoor agriculture model for the island.

Press Conference and Incentive Awards

The Press Conference and Incentive Awards are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 21st 2019 at 1:30 PM where community members will be able to see the vision for the indoor farm.

“We are pleased to announce that Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares is scheduled to come to the Fusion Farms facility in Mayagüez,” says CEO and co-founder Kendell Lang. “He will be doing a site visit, tour of the building, presentation, and award the solar energy grant to officially welcome Fusion Farms to Puerto Rico.” “Fusion Farms is proud to be at the forefront of what the Department of Economic Development is incentivizing for innovative agriculture solutions, specifically our hurricane-protected aquaponic vertical farm.”

Also in attendance will be the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, who will be discussing their delivery of $9 million USD to the Programa de Hidroponicos (Program of Hydroponics) and Pymes Innovadoras (Innovative Small to Medium Enterprises) in an effort to advance the agriculture sector of Puerto Rico.

“Fusion Farms is excited to create jobs and work with the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Department of Agriculture. By working together, we can address the needs of the community and begin to establish food security for the island. The current incentives offered to all farmers are making it possible for agriculture to thrive,” says Lisa Jander, co-founder and Director of Operations of Fusion Farms. “We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity and look forward to welcoming everyone to our new facility!”

To attend, please visit the Facebook Event page, click “Number of Spots”, and then “Reserve” to secure a spot at this ground-breaking ceremony.

About Fusion Farms

“Cultivando buena comida para buenas personas”

“Growing good food for good people”

Fusion Farms “Growing Puerto Rico”

Fusion Farms is the first indoor aquaponic farm of its kind on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. The concept seeks to transform the unused Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) buildings that are scattered across the island into hurricane-protected, vertical #aquaponic farms. Within this contained and controlled environment, vegetables, micro-greens, and herbs can be grown and supplied to the island, greatly reducing its dependence on imported fresh produce. Furthermore, Fusion Farms will be able to supply a fresh, #sustainable source of fish protein, since Tilapia are an essential component of aquaculture.

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

The Jones Act: Is the 100-Year-Old Shipping Law Contributing to the Ruin of Puerto Rico?

Jones Act

In 1920, Congress passed a law designed to encourage American prosperity after World War I. Unfortunately this act has, since, had the opposite effect and in few other places is this detrimental effect felt more profoundly than the unincorporated American territory and island nation of #PuertoRico.

The Jones Act as it was called – named after its sponsor, Senator Wesley Jones, from Washington State – has allegedly done immeasurable damage to Puerto Rico’s economy. If a figure were to be supplied, it would be in the region of $1.5 billion, according to an article by Caribbean Business.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the #JonesAct, its economic and environmental impact, and what’s currently been done to undo this outdated legislature.

What is the Jones Act and why is it Damaging Puerto Rico?

Almost 100 years ago, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 was passed by Congress and enacted into law. Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act is known as the Jones Act and it stated that all goods transported by water between ports in the United States and its territories (of which Puerto Rico is one), be carried on American-flagged ships that are American-built, American-owned, and are substantially crewed by American citizens.

The intention of this act was to encourage American trade, commerce, prosperity and naval prowess after World War I, which makes sense in theory. However, #theJonesAct has had several unintended consequences. Predominantly, the costs of transporting merchandise from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico in American built, flagged, owned, and run vessels are much higher. Additionally, Jones Act ships aren’t always available and are not always able to supply the goods/volume of goods Puerto Rico requires.

Overall, the Jones Act has:

  • Reduced waterborne coastwise trade (because it’s ships are so expensive)
  • Harmed the environment (because there is a preference for cheaper land freight, as well as trade originating from further afield, from foreign countries),
  • Measurably harmed the economy of Puerto Rico, not only because of steeper consumer prices but also because there aren’t always Jones Act vessels available to ship the goods Puerto Rico needs to import.

In spite of this, this outdated law remains in effect and continues to limit the ability to ship products by water throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Steep price tag for Puerto Ricans

The Jones Act: a Legacy of Economic Ruin for Puerto Rico

Where other U.S. states have the option to transport produce by land, Puerto Rico, being an island, is forced to make use of Jones Act ships, should it wish to ship produce in from the mainland. According to two independent investigations, this has cost Puerto Rico $1.5 billion in higher prices for goods, as well as in its effect on competitiveness and lost jobs.

One study titled The Impact of the Jones Act on Puerto Rico was the first on the Jones Act following Hurricane Maria and was commissioned by a coalition of Puerto Rican government, hospitality, legal, and other institutions, including the Chamber of Marketing, Industry and Food Distribution (MIDA in Spanish acronym), the Puerto Rico Restaurants Association, the United Retailers Association, and the Puerto Rico Bar Association.

The report was compiled by Advantage Business Consulting (ABC), which was hired to investigate the true cost of transportation from both the mainland United States and the various international ports with which Puerto Rico frequently trades. ABC sent out a survey and of the companies contacted, a significant 70 percent responded, which demonstrates the keen interest of importers with this issue. The results of the survey were surprising, although not entirely unexpected.

Puerto Rico pays 151% more to transport goods from American ports than from foreign ports

What it found was that transporting containers from the United States costs, on average, 2.5 times or 151 percent more than transporting from foreign ports. For example: shipping a container from the U.S. East Coast to Puerto Rico costs $3,063 but shipping the same container to nearby Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic costs only $1,504; and to Kingston, Jamaica, $1,607. This is because they’re not using Jones Act ships. These figures were arrived at after corresponding adjustments for size of container and distance.

Using this data, ABC then calculated an impact equivalent to a Jones Act tax of 7.2 percent on food and beverages alone, which translates into an increase of $367 million in additional costs to the local economy. In other words, food and beverages on Puerto Rico cost $300 and $107 more respectively per person, thanks to the Jones Act.

Studies peg cost of Jones Act on Puerto Rico at $1.5 billion

Further Jones Act limitations

The second independent study performed was done by the New York firm, John Dunham & Associates (JDA). Having worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority of Philadelphia, and the Ports and Commerce Department of the City of New York, Chief economist John Dunham has extensive experience in the maritime transport sector.

Their report read: “All the calculations concluded that there was a significant impact. From this analysis, the firm chose and adapted the sources to make their own recommendation, concluding water transportation costs to Puerto Rico are $568.9 million higher, and prices are $1.1 billion higher than they would be without the Jones Act limitations.”

A further impact of this is on jobs for Puerto Ricans.

“If this is the case, Puerto Rico has 13,250 fewer jobs than it would have were there a free market for ocean freight,” says John Dunham. “Those jobs would pay residents $337.3 million in wages and would result from nearly $1.5 billion in increased economic activity.”

He also said that overall tax revenue would be $106.4 million more were the island to be exempt from the Jones Act’s provisions.

Environmental considerations

The Jones Act doesn’t only deliver a blow to business’, consumers’, and the economy’s pockets… owing to this legislation, Puerto Rican businesses have limited viable shipping options, which has compelled them to purchase more from foreign countries. In fact, many Puerto Rico companies opt to import goods from Canada rather than from the United States in order to avoid the cost premium from the Jones Act. Additionally, the island, imports almost no heavy cargo from the U.S. since ships are not available to carry it. And with goods having to cover longer distances by other modes of travel, particularly land transport, Puerto Rico’s #carbonfootprint is unavoidably large.

The road forward

“With the results of these two economic studies, we have enough data to demand that we be heard here as well as in the United States Congress,” says president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, Kenneth Rivera. “The numbers are clear, the impact is devastating for the economy of our island and even more so being as vulnerable to natural disasters such a as #HurricaneMaria.”

José Salvatella, president of the Puerto Rico Restaurants Association, has also said that Puerto Rico’s food security is directly tied to its “extreme dependence” on imports: “We had great difficulties in meeting our clients’ needs, to the point that one of our partners had to import food by plane at a cost 10 times higher than what it would have cost by sea due to the lack of service.”

And so, rather than achieving any of the goals set forth in 1920, the Jones Act has severely hampered the development of the merchant marine and shipbuilding industries in the United States. It’s time for change.

It is Fusion Farm’s mission to bring about change by re-establishing local agriculture (in hurricane-protected facilities) and reducing Puerto Rico’s dependence on food imports.

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

Puerto Rico is OPEN for Green Business!

Lisa and I were able to attend the “Puerto Rico is Open For Green Business” Summit at the San Juan Convention Center today, so it was exciting to hear all the opportunities Puerto Rico has to turn around the devastation from Hurricane Maria to an opportunity to set a new course for the Island.

Here are some pictures of our time at the event:

This is me with HON. RICARDO ROSSELLÓ NEVARES the Governor of Puerto Rico:

This is me with ON. TANIA VÁZQUEZ RIVERA the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources

This is me with RODRICK MILLER the Chief Executive Officer of Invest Puerto Rico.

This is Lisa with Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares.

Farm Aid – We Need Your Help!

Puerto Rico’s farmers and communities desperately need the Farm Aid Festival; they deserve the #FarmAid Festival.

Puerto Rico has barely recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Maria and is forced to import 85% of its fresh food, which simply isn’t fresh or nutritious by the time it arrives. Puerto Rico needs awareness, investment, and aid; it needs Farm Aid to come to the island and you can help simply by picking up the phone, dialing 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243) and asking founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp to bring their Festival to Puerto Rico. You can also reach them at 617-354-2922 from 9am to 5pm EST, fill out the Online Request for Assistance Form, and/or send an email to farmhelp@farmaid.org to make the same request.

Help us get the word out! Like and Share! Check out Farm Aid’s Facebook Page and Instagram Account.

Help us bring Farm Aid to Puerto Rico!

Farm Aid

Fusion Farms is standing with Puerto Rican Family Farmers and working to bring the Farm Aid Festival 2019 to Puerto Rico. Join us in reaching out to the Farm Aid Organization and let’s let them know how much of an IMPACT they could bring to Puerto Rican Family Farmers. Puerto Rico deserves to be supported by Farm Aid and after 30 years of Festivals all over the country, it’s time that Puerto Rico was given the boost it so deserves!!!

Please call 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243) to speak with a Farm Aid staff member and ask them to schedule the next Farm Aid Festival in Puerto Rico.

You can reach Farm Aid at 617-354-2922 from 9 am to 5 pm eastern.

Please Fill out the Online Request for Assistance Form to ask that the next Farm Aid Festival be scheduled in Puerto Rico or email your request to farmhelp@farmaid.org

When hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma devastated the Gulf Coast states in 2015, Farm Aid mobilized to respond to the emergency needs of family farmers. Within days of Katrina’s impact, Farm Aid sent emergency grants and truckloads of donated food to farm families in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi and sponsored five trainings to enable farmers to access federal disaster programs. When hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, we did not get a Farm Aid Festival, but now it’s time!

To be put on the list for ticket reservations, please send email to CEO@FusionFarmsPR.com and you’ll be the first to get notified of tickets if, as and when they become available.