Why Puerto Rico?
Why Puerto Rico?
Post-Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico imports 95% of its fresh produce.
With 30 inches of rain in some areas and wind gusts up to 175 mph, Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s struggling agriculture. It is clear, Puerto Rico needs a new sustainable agricultural model to feed a population of over 3 million people.
Fusion Farms creates a solution for the island of Puerto Rico and for its communities that face environmental, climate and economic challenges, using a micro-grid, sustainable Controlled Environment Aquaponics (“CEA”) facility implementing vertical farming systems that use 1/10th of the water compared to traditional farming techniques.
Fusion Farms has submitted an application to the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation (“PRIDCO”) which was approved on September 26, 2018. The application is to lease 11,500 square feet of a fully concrete, hurricane-protected industrial warehouse space to be converted to a micro-grid Controlled Environment Aquaponics facility in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico using renewable energy.
Fusion Farms is pioneering the urban farming solution for an island that is starving for food sovereignty. The impact this will have on the island is immeasurable.
We are grateful for the support you provide to make a difference in the agricultural climate and future for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is currently (post-Hurricane Maria) importing between 90 and 95% of its produce. Traditional farming has become a challenge on the island due to the climate, hurricanes, poor soil quality and economic crisis.
Here are the main problems for which we have created this solution:
- 90% or more of the food consumed on the island of Puerto Rico is shipped in, traveling a minimum of 1,500 miles for weeks at a time.
- 48% of the population live below the federally defined poverty line.
- 27% of Puerto Ricans are on some form of government subsidies.
- Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation (PRIDCO) has 10’s of millions of square feet of empty buildings, abandoned in the ongoing economic downturn.
- Ongoing economic crisis, no new jobs, and intellectual flight from the island has left a 39% labor participation rate.
- Ongoing energy crisis and failing power grid have increased supply costs.
- 80% of farms were destroyed by Hurricane Maria, just one of two devastating hurricanes where recovery still continues.
- Large farming has all but disappeared due to insurmountable challenges.
Indoor aquaponics is disruptive and forward thinking and will create new job opportunities for Puerto Ricans to learn a different farming model that minimizes the impact of external conditions in order to grow the fresh produce the island needs.
By using the Fusion Farms design as a test facility to prove out an effective model, community members will benefit from the transparency of trial and error leading to success. Feasibility, cost containment, use of natural resources, data capture, research, and profitability will all be vital to a thriving program.
It all started with an IDEA…
- Is a FARM inside a vacant building
- Bring people and communities together in a shared educational space
- Repurpose unused real estate
- Create a viable example of Urban Agriculture
- Create a “nothing is wasted” approach
- Create lower energy solutions to manufacture, transport, and maintain sustainable food supplies; all with a smaller carbon footprint
- Create as many Outputs as possible from minimal Inputs
- Produce alternative plant food sources rich in nutrients
- Harvest farmed fish to provide a live, natural protein source
- Utilize all-natural techniques to balance the ecosystem without pesticides or chemicals
- Reconnect people with growing food; excite, inspire and engage!