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Tuesday
Apr032018

Helping Puerto Rican Smallholder Farmers Rebuild – PART ONE

Marta (right), coordinator of the Ponce farmer’s market, presents a check to a fellow farmer Nathaniel.

Supporting Farmer to Farmer Assistance

Last October a young farmer named Yanna Muriel Mohan stood on a stage near Washington, D.C. and gave a moving first-hand account of how Hurricane Maria had brought devastation upon the organic smallholder farmers she worked with in Puerto Rico through an organization called Visit Rico. She had not yet finished her presentation when the attendees of the Textile Sustainability Conference began a spontaneous effort, led by the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, to raise funds to help Visit Rico support farm recovery efforts. By the close of the conference attendees had pledged close to $30,000, with individual contributions topped off by corporate donations from Timberland Eileen FisherLenzingWestpoint Home and several other companies represented at the event.

Visit Rico’s Camille Collazo (left), presents a check to the artisanal producers of Ama Pachana.The money raised was added to by a wide range of other sources -- including the  Farm Aid group led by country singer Willie Nelson and the nature conservancy organization Para la Naturaleza -- and Visit Rico's Regrow Puerto Rico Fund was able to provide emergency financial support to almost 200 farm families and those involved in local farmers' markets and organic food outlets. These grants were absolutely essential in helping farmers begin to rebuild, as recovery efforts were largely focused on hard-hit urban areas.

Tomorrow I will be sending part two of this story, which centers on an unusual connection between Haiti and Puerto Rico.


 

 

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