Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was importing 80% of its goods. With the island’s agricultural industry destroyed, this number is at risk of sharply increasing.
How is Hispanic Federation Helping?
We’re assisting community farms, restocking sustainable fisheries, and reseeding damaged crops to help restore the island’s agricultural sector, all in an effort to support the workers, families and communities that crucially depend on it.
Who are we helping?
Centro Microempresas y Tecnologías Agrícolas Sustentables- CMTAS (Yauco)
CMTAS is a 70-acre education center for agricultural microenterprises that supports local communities and farmers through sustainable technology.
Hispanic Federation funding helped CMTAS restore pathways and its teaching building to reopen its school.
The funding also allowed CMTAS to construct a solarized well that will provide the community of Quebradas in Yauco and its surrounding areas with clean water in the event of a future disaster.
Hispanic Federation is also assisting to install a pilot anaerobic bio-digester, to provide an alternative source of energy to 15 homes and the CMTAS School.
CMTAS also received emergency funds to provide furniture and appliances to over 30 small farming families who lost their homes.
CMTAS is a Big Ideas Challenge Finalist.
Coffee Sector Revitalization Initiative(Island-wide)
In October 2018, the Hispanic Federation, together with the Miranda Family, Nespresso, The Rockefeller Foundation, Starbucks Foundation, TechnoServe, and World Coffee Research, launched this five-year initiative to support coffee farmers on the island and to rebuild and revitalize the Puerto Rican coffee industry.
TechnoServe and World Coffee Research, two global coffee sector expert NGO’s, will manage the implementation of the initiative with a Puerto Rican team.
This initiative aims to increase the long-term resilience and economic performance of the sector by bringing together a holistic support model.
This model includes diversifying and improving the quality of local coffee seed material on the island, rebuilding capacity in local nurseries, bringing training and best-in-field climate-smart agronomic and business practices to 3,000 smallholder farmers (70% of the islands coffee farmers) to elevate the production and quality of the sector, and establishing a network and market opportunities for farmers.
Acción Social De Puerto Rico, Inc. ASPRI (Río Grande)
ASPRI runs a community-focused agricultural training program that prepares and trains 240 participants each year for cutting-edge careers in hydroponics farming.
Through Hispanic Federation grant funds, ASPRI Rio Grande’s agricultural service center and greenhouse were rebuilt after being damaged by Hurricane Maria.
Hispanic Federation’s support is crucial in restoring ASPRI’s training center and readying the facility for new participant cohort to enroll.
Para la Naturaleza (Las Marías and Ciales)
Para la Naturaleza brings together people who seek a sustainable future for Puerto Rico, seeking to ensure that 33% of the natural areas in Puerto Rico are protected by the year 2033.
With support from Hispanic Federation, Para la Naturaleza provided micro-grants to two local farmers to restart their crop production and re-engage with local farmers markets and agroecological economy, including direct distribution to restaurants.
El Departamento de la Comida (Island-wide)
El Departamento de la Comida was a restaurant in San Juan known for serving vegetarian and vegan dishes made with ingredients from local, organic and sustainable farms. But the restaurant¾as well as the farms that it sourced from¾was decimated by Hurricane Maria’s landfall.
Its chefs and owners turned El Departamento de la Comida into a pop-up kitchen to feed those in need, and into a work brigade: groups of volunteers who travel in a bus equipped with agricultural supplies to help small farmers throughout the island.
El Departamento de la Comida’s work brigade spends an average of three days clearing land, rebuilding farming structures, providing seeds for crops, and installing sustainable technology.
The brigade brings much-needed support to overwhelmed farmers, and in the process promotes self-sufficiency and food sovereignty. They plan to serve 200 farms over two years
Hispanic Federation supports El Departamento de la Comida by providing financial support to its work brigade.
Armonia en la Montaña (Aibonito and Arroyo)
With a grant from Hispanic Federation, Armonia en la Montaña can rehabilitate and enhance two nonprofit farms in Aibonito and Arroyo.
By doing so, Armonia en la Montaña will be able to expand its educational and community services programs, rotate work brigades for farmers, and support the distribution of locally grown produce.
University of Puerto Rico Seed Project(Island-wide)
Connecting with a University of Puerto Rico professor in agriculture who had the vision to replant the devastated agriculture of the island,
Hispanic Federation shipped a 10,000-pound pallet that contained flower, vegetable and tree seeds to address replanting and reforestation efforts.
The University of Puerto Rico distributed these donated seeds to agriculturalists and farmers throughout the island.