2019 Food Trends that Producers NEED to Pay Attention to…

There’s a food revolution going on and producers that don’t keep up with the times will find their share of the market slipping between their fingers

2019 Is all about food sustainability, traceability, and transparency. Source: www.Pixabay.com

With the relentless passage of time, advances in technology, and spread of environmental and #health awareness, come a myriad of ever-shifting trends that affect the foods and produce we are prepared to put in our grocery baskets. These trends range from packaging, which must be environmental friendly or it won’t be supported, to a growing preference for local producers and suppliers – the fewer the “food miles”, the better. What these trends tend to have in common are the betterment of the environment and the increasing support of local farmers.

Here’s what we expect to see in 2019….

Don’t forget the “Baby Boomers”

2019 Food trend: as Baby Boomers continue to embrace technology and educate themselves in the options available to them, they too will become savvier in their food choices.

Baby Boomers might be approaching their 70’s in age, but their increasing grasp of technology is empowering them to make more intelligent food choices, as is the case with the younger generations. Given that they constitute 25% of the population (and have the most buying power of all the generations), they matter enormously as a target market.

Innovations in packaging

Molded pulp uses recycled newsprint to form package components. Here, researchers are molding packaging from straw. Source: Peggy Greb, Public Domain. 

2019 Food trend: we expect to see the continued development of innovative, environmentally friendly packaging options that ensure fresher produce.

Today’s consumer demands food that is fresh, ripe, and unprocessed but also delivered in packaging that is made from environmentally friendly, biodegradable materials. In order for grocery stores to keep shoppers happy, they need to stock produce that has a longer shelf life and that has a lesser environmental impact.

Local shopping the “in” thing

2019 Food trend: more and more consumers are favoring locally grown, fresh produce over imported, pre-packaged, processed goods.

The fewer the miles food has to travel to get on the plate, the better. It means less transport-related pollution and fresher produce. This is a concept referred to as #foodmiles – why pay for vegetables that have traveled thousands of miles and waited several days in customs, when you can buy something that was harvested from the ground that very morning from a local farmer’s market? Within grocery stores and supermarkets, it is also preferable to see that the fresh produce is locally sourced.

If distributors turn their attention to local producers, they won’t only help to stimulate the local economy, but will also contribute enormously to a healthier environment.

Traceable and transparent

2019 Food trend: the demand for organic products peaked in 2018. Now, the focus shifts to accommodate traceability and transparency, which essentially helps consumers understand where their food comes from, how it was grown/treated, and how many miles it has had to travel, etc.

There are proliferating numbers of software programs and apps that allow consumers to trace the origins of their food right down to the plot of land it was grown on and the chemicals that were used to treat it during its growth cycle. Some apps help the public determine which producers operate sustainably, while others lead them to the best local alternatives in an effort to reduce food miles.

We are moving into an era in which the consumer wants to see more than just the product of #agriculture – they also want to see the story behind it and do their bit to contribute by making the most sustainable, environmentally friendly food choices possible.

The public holds the agricultural sector accountable

2019 Food trend: the agricultural sector needs to prioritize transparency, sustainability, and humane food practices or else suffer the penalties.

Last year, the emphasis was on getting food produce from farm to market in the most environmentally friendly way possible. This year, the pressure is on the agricultural sector to further reduce their carbon footprint and #greenhouse gas emissions, while improving the quality and freshness of their produce. They are also expected to be as humane as possible in the processing of animal products, with buzzwords being “free-range”, “grass-fed”, etc.

Food producers who don’t adhere to these pressures risk more than just a loss of consumer support; they might also face penalties and fines in the future.

A better, healthier food future

Locally sourced produce and farmers markets have become increasingly popular. Source: www.Pixabay.com

2019’s Food trends, which will hopefully extend into the coming decade, aren’t just reserved for Millennials and hipsters. Technology, food apps, and the vast and limitless reach of the Internet have empowered consumers across multiple generations to make more intelligent food choices. These are the everyday decisions that will help to clean up the environment by reducing food miles and eliminating plastic packaging; hold the agricultural sector accountable by demanding greater sustainability, humane practices, and transparency; limiting food wastage; and empowering local farmers, communities, and economies.

Fusion Farms in Puerto Rico aims to incorporate these food trends and practices in our indoor, hurricane-protected #aquaponics agricultural model, not only here in the beautiful Mayagüez district on the western portion of the island, but anywhere and everywhere our model is adopted.


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

 

Bringing Fresh Food, #Sustainability , Jobs, and a Future to Puerto Rican’s Tables

Fusion Farms

In September 2017, the most devastating storm to have ever made landfall on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico slammed into its coastline. Virtually overnight, the island’s already struggling infrastructure and farmlands were razed to the ground, delivering a blow that countless Puerto Ricans are still, to this day, trying to recover from.

The morning after #HurricaneMaria, a road in the Roseau area is littered with structural debris, damaged vegetation, and downed power poles and lines. Source: Roosevelt Skerrit from Vieille Case, Dominica, Public Domain

It was during a visit to the island before and after Hurricane Maria that California entrepreneurs and partners, Kendell Lang and Lisa Jander, conceived of the idea to build a hurricane-protected #aquaponics farms within a large concrete PRIDCO (the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company) warehouse that had been left vacant.

Hurricane Maria is just one of the reasons Puerto Rico is a shadow of what it could be…but what remains clear is that this beautiful, tropical paradise has incredible potential for growth, self-sufficiency, and #foodsovereignty.

Thus, Fusion Farms was born.

Short-term goals for Fusion Farms

Kendell and Lisa have made the move to Puerto Rico, assembled the business plan, built a website, launched a Start Engine fundraising campaign to help build the first of many hurricane-protected farms, and have obtained approval to occupy a vacant PRIDCO warehouse.

Inside PRIDCO’s vacant warehouse in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. This image was taken by Kendell Lang and Lisa Jander during a visit to secure the site for their first Fusion Farms facility.

In the short-term, funding permitting, the goal is to build the first hurricane-protected Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) facility for Fusion Farms that will make use of aquaponics and vertical farming techniques to produce a reliable supply of fresh, non-GMO, 100% pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. Since the farm will maintain a network of freshwater tilapia ponds, the offering will also extend to the harvesting (but not processing) of fresh fish.

In addition to fresh produce, Fusion Farms aims to become a thriving center for the employment, education, and training of the local population. Realizing the incredible experience and value Puerto Rican farmers have to offer, Lisa and Kendell have made it a core part of their plan to fully utilize this resource by employing local farmers in the aquaponics facility, while also training inexperienced hands.

A 3D rendering of the intended transformation of one of PRIDCO’s vacant warehouses on Puerto Rico. Source: www.FusionFarmsPR.com

Medium-term goals for Fusion Farms

The dream for Fusion Farms doesn’t end with the completion and successful running of the first facility. It begins.

“We aim to develop a repeatable, sustainable, and scalable model for a hurricane protected CEA aquaponic farm,” explains Lisa Jander. “One that can be repeated across the island of Puerto Rico.”

Currently, the island, which is perfectly capable of feeding its own population were it properly cultivated and protected, imports around 90% of its fresh food produce. This is expensive and affects food quality. It’s also unsustainable since the food has to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles to get to Puerto Rican’s plates.

In the medium term, Fusion Farms intends to build a network of indoor aquaponic facilities that will cater to the needs of the island. It also intends to establish a fully fleshed out training program for locals, who can then become employed on the farms, and a model it can export elsewhere to other nations experience similar challenges.

Long-term goals for Fusion Farms 

The challenges #PuertoRico face are not unique. Across the globe, there are hundreds of stricken, impoverished nations that not only suffer political problems and ineffective infrastructure but also frequent natural disasters. It is the long-term goal of Fusion Farms to establish a model – movable, repeatable, and scalable – for building and running hurricane-protected, climate-controlled indoor farming facilities that can feed, train, and employ the local population.

For now, the focus is on Puerto Rico, where there is a dire need for food sovereignty. But if Fusion Farms can make a difference here, then there is potential to make a worldwide impact.

You too can become a part of the movement towards a food sovereign future for all by becoming an #impactinvestor in Fusion Farms.

Become an investor!


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

 

Costa Rica Runs on 100% #RenewableEnergy

The tropical paradise is not just a pretty face! It sets a prime example by running entirely on renewable energy for almost a year.

 Costa Rica is a spectacularly beautiful country located in Central America. Source: www.Pixabay.com

 White sand beaches, crystalline blue water, tangled jungles, dramatic volcanic and mountain landscapes, and stunning wildlife…Costa Rica has, for decades, been the destination of choice for honeymooners and holiday-makers from all over the world. But what this country has managed to achieve over the past 10 years has left some of the world’s most advanced nations truly in the dust. Sandwiched between the Central American countries of Panama (south) and Nicaragua (north), Costa Rica has, and is, making good on its commitment to running on clean, renewable energy.

The country is “not just a pretty face,” it would seem!

Powering homes, cities, and an economy with clean, renewable energy

As of November 2017, Costa Rica has been able to generate more than 99% of its energy needs using renewable resources like #solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and biomass energy. In 2015, this popular travel destination generated 100% of its energy needs for 299 consecutive days; in 2016, for 271 days; and in 2017, for 300 days. Turning to wholly renewable sources and processes, Costa Rica was able to power its homes, cities, and economy without any fossil fuels, positioning this tiny tropical paradise leaps and bounds ahead of what are considered to be the world’s most technologically advanced nations.

Carlos Manuel Obregón, Executive President of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, explained that they were able to achieve this incredible feat through improvements to the grid and upgrading #cleanenergy power plants. This record goes hand-in-hand with the Costa Rican government’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2021, a deadline that was established over a decade ago.

Pirrís Dam under construction in 2011 by the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) Source: Ceab.ico – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

A developing nation shows developed nations “how it’s done”

What is particularly notable about this is that Costa Rica is considered to be a developing nation that does not have the same economic firepower as, for example, the United States or China. This sets an admirable example for developing nations around the globe and particularly its Caribbean neighbor, #PuertoRico, which has struggled with power outages and an unreliable power grid since Hurricane Maria slammed into its coast in September 2017.

It also goes to show that it doesn’t take a powerful economy and advanced technology to go “off the grid.” Costa Rica has prioritized its shift to renewable energy by investing taxpayers’ money on the necessary technology and infrastructure, while the world’s more developed and affluent countries have lagged behind.

A living, breathing example of smart investment

Costa Rica may be a small country with much lower power needs than, for example, the United States or China, but its government had the prescience to invest in renewable energy at a much earlier stage. Today, it is a living, breathing example of what is possible when a nation’s government employs foresight and planning and invests money in the right places. This should serve as an inspiration not only to the countless other small, developing nations of the Caribbean and around the world but also to the world’s “superpowers” who can’t seem to wean themselves off of non-renewable fossil fuels.

Now, as long as there are ocean waves, sunlight, wind, and geothermal energy (or one of those four), Costa Rica will be able to generate clean, renewable energy. And it’s this philosophy that Fusion Farms intends to apply to its operations in Puerto Rico.

About Fusion Farms

Fusion Farms aims to establish a reliable and protected source of fresh, 100% organic, pesticide-free, and non-GMO fruits and vegetables to the island of Puerto Rico. Source: www.Pixabay.com

Fusion Farms is an organization that strives to bring Controlled Environment Agriculture to the island of Puerto Rico. By establishing vertical #aquaponics farms inside hurricane protected, climate-controlled indoor facilities, powered mostly if not entirely by solar energy and wind turbines, Fusion Farms can establish a reliable source of fresh, healthy, 100% GMO, and pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, and fish for the island’s population.


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

 

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

The Story of Fusion Farms

12 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

Impact investing benefits environmental/social causes and the investor. Source: www.Pixabay.com

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

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Source: www.Pixabay.com

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

What is Controlled Environment Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a form of agriculture, the entire premise of which is based upon the mutually beneficial relationship between plants and animals, more specifically fish. The fish are raised in tanks where they are looked after and tended to by farm workers. The water in the tank accumulates fish waste, which, when broken down by bacteria, creates a potent natural fertilizer for plants. This water is continuously flushed out of the fish tanks and channeled through soilless plantations of vegetables and other edible plants. The plants absorb the nutrients from the water, purifying the water, and it is then fed back into the fish tanks.

In this way, the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish. This all takes place within a closed system or “controlled environment,” in which temperature, humidity, and other important variables for agriculture can be carefully managed. The aim of this control is to recreate an outdoor environment that is super conducive to fast and healthy plant growth. Crops can be grown for food, pharmaceutical, and nutriceutical applications, and algae for food and biofuels.

The benefits of aquaponics

This harmonious relationship between plant and fish creates an exceptionally sustainable and productive agricultural ecosystem that:

  • Requires little water and other resources, since the water is continuously recycled and the fish fertilize the plants (aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming).
  • Can run year-round and in any location on the planet, since it takes place indoors and in an environment where the temperature and humidity can be controlled.
  • Provides a continuous and reliable source of food fish and a great variety of fruit and vegetable products for consumption.
  • Can cater to the needs of an entire family, community, village, hospital, or institution from one relatively small-scale operation.
  • Provides a cheaper alternative to food that has to be imported.
  • Provides food that is free from herbicides, pesticides, and hormones. The reason for this is simple: fish are sensitive to their environments and cannot tolerate harmful chemicals. If these were introduced into an aquaponics system, the fish would likely die.
  • Provides food with a lower risk of contamination or pest infestation, since it is grown and harvested in a closed, controlled environment.

Aquaponics is also useful for education in schools and universities. With each link in the food chain easy to see and examine, students can learn about the biological relationships between the fish and the plants and take the field of aquaponics further through scientific inquiry.

How aquaponics can feed communities

In countries, cities, and communities that don’t have an established agricultural sector and, consequently, rely on imported food to feed their citizens, aquaponics can offer a sustainable and rich source of healthy, nutritious food. Being locally grown, this produce is also typically more affordable than imported food products and can be made reliably available. In places where the climate is harsh or prone to frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes, controlled environment aquaponics, which can be built in hurricane-proof buildings, can provide a lasting, reliable solution to food shortages.

Building and managing such operations can also be a good source of jobs for communities who want to take the reins of their food production.

The way of the future

Controlled environment aquaponics truly optimizes the use of resources, such as water, energy, space, capital, and labor, to grow just about any commercially viable crop and food fish, making it a sustainable farming solution for any community in the world.

 

 

Food and Water are the New GOLD!

In a modern society where the treasures of old have fallen by the wayside and riches are counted in electronic currencies and perceived, rather than real, two commodities are making a comeback and it’s time they get the attention they deserve: food and water. Just ask the cast of the TV Series Lost or Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away: they would have chosen clean water and fresh food over dollar bills and gold bars any day of the week.

Forgotten commodities

Within the writhing mass of steel, concrete, and glass that comprise our cities, and their choked and congested roadways, restaurants, and shopping malls, water and food have been forgotten as commodities. In most cities, you turn on the tap and there is an endless supply of clean water for bathing, drinking, and washing. Open the fridge or go down to the local supermarket and there is aisle upon aisle of fresh and processed food – enough to feed several armies.

And yet, where our minds are most frequently focused is on money: on hard cash and the number of zeros on our bank statements. This has distracted us immensely from life’s most important commodities – fresh food and clean water. Not any longer! In the war-torn, hurricane-ravaged, and harsh environmental zones on Earth, water and food are the new gold.

A reminder of value

The distribution of the human population on Earth is, in part, a powerful testament to the intrinsic value of food and water. Our original settlements, cities, and then empires were built in close proximity to water and food sources. This is why few desert areas on Earth – whether they are icy wastelands or sweltering sand heaps – have vast cities built upon them. With access to clean, plentiful water and food, a civilization can then turn its attention to more sophisticated activities, such as building machinery, innovating technologies, and scientific inquiry.

Armed with improved technology, we are able to venture further, into harsher climates that might not offer so much food and water but that offer some other precious commodity – perhaps iron, stone, or gold – and settle there. Trade took care of the rest.

But in areas where access to clean and plentiful water and food is severely limited, and colonialism hasn’t interfered, human populations have largely remained primitive in nature; dedicating their lives to foraging, hunting, and surviving, rather than becoming educated and expanding and building. This is not at all to say that one form of civilization is better than the other, but merely an observation that civilizations with easy access to plentiful water and food have the luxury of channeling their energies into the proliferation of the arts, sciences, and technologies.

Why this is changing

Economic downturns, market crashes, bubble bursts, and the dizzying roller-coaster ride of cryptocurrency values tell us that while 21st Century wealth can afford you luxury, it cannot guarantee your survival. This is the basic plot of every post-apocalyptic movie, TV series, and book that’s been released, ever. When the civilized world comes crashing down, the money in your wallet holds greater value as kindling than anything else.

What kind of wealth is that?

And, let’s not forget the divine fact that a power outage brings ALL of the above – the Internet, the cryptocurrency, the banks, the stock market, and more – to a crashing halt. At the end of the day, the human race is just trying to survive and when you strip all of the layers of excess, luxury, and lifestyle away, you’re left with two absolutely essential commodities with which you can survive, feed a community, build an economy, and raise an empire from the ground up.

Water and food: the new gold. Or more accurately, the ORIGINAL gold.

How to Solve an Economic Crisis with Sustainably-Grown Food

Puerto Rico has been in the headlines a lot lately and not for the right reasons. For years, the country has been sliding deeper and deeper into debt, which was estimated at $73 billion in October 2017. Then, on 16th September 2017, a high-end category 4 storm, Hurricane Maria, slammed into the island, leaving its inhabitants without homes, electricity, and water.

The intense financial and humanitarian pressures closing in on the tiny Caribbean nation forced it in May of this year to file for “the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in history,” according to an article by CNN Money. In other words, Puerto Rico is in the grips of a financial and humanitarian crisis that has seen little to no improvement over the past year, and that continues to face an enormously uncertainty future.

Puerto Rico’s Problems Defined

What exactly does “financial and humanitarian crisis” mean?

  • 48% of the population lives below the federally defined poverty line.
  • 27% of Puerto Ricans are on some form of government subsidy.
  • There is an on-going energy crisis: one power company holds a complete monopoly over the island and its management ranks are riddled with corruption.
  • There is an on-going economic crisis: the labor participation rate is a paltry 39%, no new jobs are being generated, and, sick of the turmoil and lack of service, educated and skilled inhabitants are leaving the island in their droves.
  • The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation (PRIDCO) has tens of millions of square feet of empty buildings that have been abandoned in the ongoing economic downturn.

In addition to this, the island of Puerto Rico faces severe food shortages:

  • Hurricane Maria obliterated 80% of its farms, which was actually just one of two devastating hurricanes to have hit the island in recent years and from which there has been little recovery.
  • Local farming has all but disappeared because of the domination of large colonial-era plantations, which have focused agriculture on the island on mono-crop farming.

Consequently, 90% or more of the food consumed on Puerto Rico has to be shipped in. This not only makes it more expensive, but also requires the food to travel a minimum of 1,500 miles for weeks at a time, impacting quality, nutrition, and freshness. This is a travesty for a tropical island that could and should be producing its own fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish.

This is the problem. Now, let’s take a look at the solution….

Solving Puerto Rico’s Financial and Humanitarian Crisis

Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment, continues to be a spectacularly beautiful island that is rich in natural beauty and natural resources. Our objective is to work with the afore-mentioned Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation (PRIDCO), the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, and several other strategic partners to prove that the solution to the island’s crisis is to, once again, take its primary industries of agriculture and fishing into our own hands. The sustainable indoor growing of fruits, vegetables, and fish is an economically viable solution to accomplish that goal.

The first step would be to create aquaponic farms inside those vacant buildings we mentioned and bring people and communities together in a shared educational space. By repurposing unused real estate – and ensuring that these spaces are hurricane proof – we can create a viable example of urban agriculture that can withstand the abuse of severe storms, and assume a “nothing is wasted” approach.

An alternative source of fresh, locally-grown food

These aquaponic farms would supply an alternative food source that is incredibly fresh, rich in nutrients, sustainable, and affordable. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, aquaponics raises farmed fish that can provide people with a live, natural protein source.

  • We would be utilizing all-natural techniques to balance the ecosystem without pesticides or chemicals.
  • We would be reconnecting Puerto Ricans with agriculture, industry, and a powerful sense of purpose.
  • We would be creating jobs, sustainable and affordable food, and a culture of self-reliance.
  • And all with a smaller carbon footprint.

This is the solution that Fusion Farms (a DBA of FPMG, Inc.) wishes to propose, a Controlled Environment Aquaponics or CEA facility for sustainable, renewable, energy efficient indoor growing of organic food in hurricane-proof buildings.

Together, we can help Puerto Rico grow its economy and restore the pride of this beautiful island to its people.