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Saving Puerto Rico agriculture

$13,730 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 35 people in 7 months
For the past 24 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. Last December I applied for help from the USDA and the PR Department of Agriculture and all these months later I am not sure it will lead to much. I  can not afford to wait any longer for the help that may never arrive and which would be inadequate if it did. I am looking for funds to save my farm and the year-round jobs of six people, continue supporting agriculture and tree fruit production in an area that is physically and financially devastated, has few jobs and very little 
opportunity for relief.Building on what is left of the farm I would use 
these funds to get it back to its previous state or more if it is 
possible. This would enable me to provide additional tons of locally 
grown and nutritious fruit to hundreds of thousands of people in an area where most food is shipped in from off the island.

I do not want to lose these people working for me or give up on farming in this devastated place. 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 hoping 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. These funds 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 24 
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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$13,730 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 35 people in 7 months
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SP
$100
Scott Preece
2 months ago
SB
$100
Steve Bunch
2 months ago
$500
Anonymous
2 months ago
SB
$200
Sheila Becker
2 months ago
KO
$50
Karen OConnor
3 months ago
$25
Audrey WAlker
3 months ago
$5
Ed Ng
3 months ago
LB
$100
Laura Bracken
3 months ago
$100
Anonymous
3 months ago
$50
Mariel Calderon
3 months ago
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