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.
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 Industrial 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 consisted of two 400-gallon water storage tanks for the collection of fresh rainwater, a dual propane gas generator with gas tanks, a specialized refrigerator for our seed library, and a power pressure washer for cleaning. Oh, and a tractor lawnmower to keep the yard’s thick grass in check!
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 channeled 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 fulfill 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 island 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!