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.
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.