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Saving Puerto Rico agriculture

$13,895 of $360,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 14 months
For the past 25 years I have owned and operated an exotic fruit farm in western Puerto Rico, supplying fruit to the island as well as the mainland and employing six island residents.  Hurricane Maria hit my 
farm and so many others in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, wiping out half of my producing trees, and therefore my income from them. In December of 2017 I applied for help from the USDA and the PR Department of Agriculture and all these months later help finally arrived. On March 22, 2019, a year and a half after Hurricane Maria hit, I did finally receive just enough to survive into 2020 but this is a great thing and I am grateful to the USDA and the program that enabled this. I will need more help but, this gives me breathing room, enables me to buy and replant trees and start the long process of fruit tree restoration.

Reflecting this change I lowered the amount needed from $500,000 to $360,000 but still am looking at a 5 year runway since in 2018, I received no USDA help, lost a year and need time to initiate this next step.

One tree conservatively can absorb at least 35 pounds per year of carbon dioxide. Multiply by 60, the age a typical tree can reach and beyond and you can see each tree easily absorbing a ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. I am looking for an additional 2,500 new trees and already have over 4,000 in the ground presently. This farm will easily be absorbing thousands of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere that otherwise would contribute to global warming.

I do not want to lose these people working for me or give up on farming in this devastated place and now we have another year, maybe more. The farm is in an area so remote, there are probably no other jobs since there are very few businesses and fewer still after Hurricane Maria. Without this job, my people would have to move away. Hundreds of thousands of people have left Puerto Rico already. Many will return but to what? I am continuing to make a minimum five year commitment to the restoration of the farm, the replanting of thousands of lost trees, the ongoing maintenance of an on-island grown food source... but I can not afford to do this anymore just from savings. Any funds donated would go towards new trees, wages, all the tasks and supplies to maintain a tree fruit farm in the middle of the jungle and I would make up the rest out of pocket.

I have never done this before, never asked for money over the last 25 years when I first created this farm, never asked people to support me but, it's now or never and it is a farm I can only restore with your 
help. Over the last decade I have given small tours of what this paradise came to be and many were grateful to come back over and over. I would expand this in the years ahead and share it with contributors so they could see what their gift of money grew into. Before Hurricane Maria, it was splendid expanse of colors and sounds and perfume smells of flowering trees and fruit and with your help it could be again.
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I am still in a holding pattern with the USDA and hope that they can help. The surviving trees look great, there has been heavy rain and what is left of the farm looks very healthy. Thank all of you for what you have given. I am not giving up and with help can rebuild this place. My thanks to all.
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The funding is proceeding slowly but I am grateful to everyone who was willing to help. To increase exposure, I found a person in San Juan, Carlos Diaz, who had been to the farm before and also is a really fine videographer and drone pilot. I have linked this page to that video and for those of you who have seen the farm, welcome to the birds eye view!
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This is going to be a slow but steady process. Like the trees we plant, this is a long term commitment that will help with Puerto Rico's homegrown food supply. The people of this island deserve so much more but each person can do something to make a difference, be it money or time or helping others in different ways. My thanks goes out to everyone, both those I know and those I have never met. The lucky few who have been to the farm know what it could be like.
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This is going to be a long and slow process but I wanted to thank everyone for the contributions made to date. Every dollar helps and I want say to all, this is very much appreciated. Besides replacing what was lost, I am going to see if I can increase the durian scale significantly and be able to supply a lot more customers with this fruit.
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$13,895 of $360,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 14 months
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MF
$20
Michael Finch
25 days ago
RO
$25
Robert O'Donnell
3 months ago
$20
Thrity Vakil
3 months ago
$100
Anonymous
3 months ago
SP
$100
Scott Preece
9 months ago
SB
$100
Steve Bunch
9 months ago
$500
Anonymous
9 months ago
SB
$200
Sheila Becker
9 months ago
KO
$50
Karen OConnor
10 months ago
$25
Audrey WAlker
10 months ago
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