On September 19, 2017, Hurricane Maria obliterated the island. It was the worst hurricane in almost a century. Though the facts around the impact are not always consistent, the devastation was clear and in many parts of the island, recovery is still ongoing.
But, the island was in trouble long before Maria; the utilities, infrastructure, government, and economy were already circling the train. The two facts that really grabbed our attention most were these:
- Thousands of people have left the island in search of jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate hovers around 8.5% and is projected to trend around 11.20% in 2020.
- Over 90% of the food on the island is imported and the quality is subpar and lacks nutrition due to the food miles.
“We didn’t move to Puerto Rico to take advantage of the island; we moved to Puerto Rico to help give the island an advantage.”
These were the biggest factors driving our decision to move here – create jobs and grow healthy, fresh, all natural produce in a Hurricane Protected Aquaponics Vertical Farm built in a vacant warehouse. Pretty simple concept; super ambitious (and capital intensive) project.
Puerto Rico is working hard to bring businesses to the island by offering a plethora of incentives. They are looking for anything that will grow the economy and reduce the unemployment rate:
Along with Act 22 for residency and personal reasons, there are a number of other reasons for people to invest in Puerto Rico:
For us, it was simple: Good food for good people.
Can we pull this off? Not without the help of investors and donations. To date, we have:
- The team with all the experience essential for success
- The interns from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez ready to put their knowledge to work
- Multiple incentives from the Government, PRIDCO and the USDA
- An 11,500 square foot building on an acre and a half.
- Been awarded a $250K solar grant
- Raised $40,000!
We are grateful for all the support we have received and continue to experience. We have pushed through the challenges that island life brings working many 12 hour days to get this project off the ground and growing…literally.
Article source: https://www.fusionfarmspr.com/some-call-us-crazy/