OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Neuroplastic Routes of Splendor

The Power of a Neuroplastic Network Collective to achieve the sustainability of the agricultural sector in Puerto Rico.

Photo of Camille Collazo
8 8

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Rico Inc.

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Farmer Co-Op or Farmer Business Organization: Mother Earth Organic Cooperative Small Company: Tais Large Company: City Winery Smal NGO: Boricuá Organization: entity that promotes Puerto Rican agroecology. (CONSULTAR) Departamento de la Comida (CONSULTAR) Large NGO: Slow Food= they are logistic support in our agrotourism. Its purpose is to protect endemic crops that have a rich history on the Island, organization that perfectly matches our sustainable food system. Agriculture Commission of the Bar Association of Puerto Rico: advance public policy to protect small & medium scale farmers. Foundation For Puerto Rico Youth Organization: Slow Food Youth Network Researcher Institute UPRRU: Cruz Miguel Cuadra Government Tourism Company Investment based Organization FarmAid: Donation Fund collaboration for Family Farmers Disaster Recovery. Media Outlet Discover Puerto Rico: promote our content and offer. Publimedia CRANS: Dr. María C

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.visitrico.org

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

San Juan

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Puerto Rico

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Puerto Rico

What country is your selected Place located in?

Puerto Rico

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Puerto Rico is my home, born and raised. I left the Island for a while just because I wanted to follow my dream of doing my MFA Design as Entrepreneur at the School of Visual Arts, (with a professor from IDEO). When I was in the middle of the journey, my father got cancer (2014).  My answer: to design a solution to the health crisis in Puerto Rico. It was important to shed light on the physical, mental and emotional crisis that accompanies the lack of healthy food availability for all; by supporting one of the pilar sources of health: our Ecological Farmers, the protectors of our finite natural resources. I decided to create VisitRico.

In Puerto Rico, we only produce 15% of our food and the majority is not ecological. We spend 3.5B annually importing agricultural products and food. They become 8.5B in retail sales we also buy. Processed food that is making us sick. In the face of the national instability and food crisis, we need to take care of ourselves. It begins with what we eat and lowering our stress levels by sharing time doing social buffering with our community. 

Little did I know that I would become one of the statistics for whom we build VisitRico. The Executive Director of VisitRico, myself, is one of the millions of women with an autoimmune condition, which I also joined by chance. For instance, didn’t care much about keeping health insurance. Doctors ignored my family history: cancer, Hashimoto, arthritis rheumatoid. Technically 1 in 22 family members will get an autoimmune disease, women are most in danger and especially Latinas. My team and my fellow Puerto Ricans can relate to this story. I check-in many of these criteria boxes. 

Nowadays, VisitRico is a team of 5 decades: fabulous women and men in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. I believe that a multigenerational team brings strengths that enrich the conversation. That is what VisitRico is built for, to be the pivot vessel of hope and understanding. I am part of a Puerto Rican pivot.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

https://vimeo.com/user105976510

Puerto Rico belongs to the Caribbean, a region known for its richness, privileged climate, and fertile soils. The Caribbean is characterized by its syncretism, its allusion to the mixture of customs and races in culture. Puerto Rico, in particular, is a space of exponential transformation and class struggle, is the best case-study to replicate a sustainable vision because we are an island, a closed space to try new things. Our insular condition allowed us to develop neuroplasticity. We are part of an eternally reproducible record, citing Antonio Benítez Rojo, which necessarily occurs all of a sudden and that only those who are present have the privilege of experimenting.

Back in 1830, we produced 70% of our food, but after 1898 under the US military rule things started to change. There were appropriation of land, displacement of local capital and farmers to absentee corporations and the single crop farm model was monopolized. Farmers no longer had land to grow food for their families and giving their labor in exchange for food promoted a detachment from the land towards the industrial model.

  In 1920 the Merchant Marine Act (Jones Act) forced our food imports to the US manned, crewed and built ships. This meant that our food came from different countries but most of it from the U.S. through the US Maritime Fleet, the most expensive in the world. To this day, our food comes from 58 countries but 78% of it is from the United States.

  In 1947, industrialization policies pushed most of the farmers to work in the manufacturing industry cities and others fled to the U.S. looking for better work opportunities. The massive migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States was the largest in the early and late 20th century. We lost 50,000 farmers in just a couple of decades.

The 1970s were crucial because it brought supermarkets to Puerto Rico. There was no need for land to produce food anymore because you could just buy cheap processed food. The local market was slowly losing the competition to the big supermarkets that offered cheaper food in a more convenient environment.  This is our situation still.

  Most of the 10% we actually produce is based on the Single Crop System, which is built around corporate interests. It is not ideal for our topography and our economy because we can’t afford to lose farm space for one crop. There are other models of agriculture that have worked in countries that share our climate and topography, which will work better for our land.

Puerto Rico is bankrupt. 14% unemployment, 33% on Welfare, 1 Trillion in Debt. We have soil that can give up to 4 harvests yearly, but we import 85% mostly processed; it takes weeks to arrive in Puerto Rico. These equal to 3.5 billion annually in agricultural products and food imports. If we stopped food shipments in 2 weeks we would be in huge trouble.



What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

13800

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

3195

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

If our climate changes, the land in which our food grows also changes. Therefore, the policies that govern the current agricultural structure must unquestionably change, too. Puerto Rico’s agricultural sector has conflicting public policies that promote the productive incapacity and inefficiency.  This frustrating atmosphere arises discontent among the farmers, generating that the communication network between them is scarce and ineffective. 

Although Visit Rico has been working for five years to attend the agricultural sector, we pinpointed the problem just after the most catastrophic hurricane, Maria, because at once, the veil of our food precariousness on the Island was torn off. It is necessary to remember that this problem of Conflicting Public Policies is also environmental in nature.

Those mainly affected by climate change and obsolete land policies are Puerto Rican farmers, especially small and medium-scale producers. Food insecurity limits the accessibility of sufficient supplies and generates food insecurity. Ultimately, Puerto Rican producers and consumers are directly affected if the food produced has negative health consequences. Our agriculture does not have the support and protection of public policy, much less the economic competition of imported products through the Merchant Marine, Jones 1920 Act, which decides what is eaten in Puerto Rico. More expensive food enters; agriculture is not subsidized by the government to be considered competitive.

 

Some other important challenges are:

1. Aging of our farmers with an average age of 59.1 years 

2. High school level of education or less. 

3. 59% of our farmers they don't consider agriculture their source of income principal. 

4. Limitation of agricultural land and the new public policy of using the land

coastal to sow seed and not food (Bayer). 

5. Problem with the deficiency of management and administrative operation of our farms. 

6. Problem in the management of permits and regulations that are required by the government

State and municipal. 

7. Operating costs and lack of sufficient capital. 

8. Availability and use of water. 

9. Availability of access to machinery and equipment for small and medium farms. 

10. After hurricanes Irma and María, the need to spread

seeds and crop insurance that is limited to a single product. 

11. The correct use of the tariff charged for the importation of foreign coffee, elimination of agricultural subsidies and new definition of bonafide farmer.

 

The tool that speeds up the process of adaptation and technological adaptation is called "Data Hub: Neuroplastic Collective Network ". The “Data Hub” initiative is a  database created in 2017 after Hurricanes Irma & Maria to measure the progress of farms Agroecological and create statistics of the sector. One of the biggest challenges for 2050 is to ensure that this splendor route of using  “Data Hub”  exist without the help and audit of Visit Rico as an organizing and procuring entity behind the farms.


Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

VisitRico’s DataHub became an innovative precedent for connecting farming and investment.  After Hurricane Maria, we promoted the creation of Agroecological Action a workshop table that enacted immediate relief strategies.  The gathered crucial data on the importance of connecting producers with consumers through direct in farm exchanges.  That is how “Data Hub” was born. A franchise framework agricultural project that addressed the historical abandonment of the agricultural sector.  It maintained the continuity and monitoring of strategically important agro-tourism projects to give an additional boost to our agriculture and serve as integration nexus for capital and knowledge exchange.  

The “Data Hub” initiative, created in 2017, measured agroecological farms’ progress and monitored the first agroecological sector statistics.  With new data, we were able to identify and address farmers’ needs. With this tool we could visualize the relationship between our stakeholders, farmers, consumers, landscape, and produce in one place; to exponentially increase a farm’s success and visibility. The module design to implement an agritourism project allowed this idea to scale to multiple projects , ensuring that the project was viable, replicable and sustainable. It incorporated learning at all levels, improving age, schooling and gender division statistics dedicated to the Agriculture.

VisitRico created the first Interpretation of Agrocultural Heritage Certification as a way to empower farmers. It offered a direct connection between audience and farm committed to guard and preserve crops, traditions and agricultural knowledge. The Program helped farmers communicate emotional and intellectual connections between the interest of the visitors and the true meaning of agroecological space: management of that landscape in the hands of the people. A manual was prepared with multi-year projections which harnessed our farmers accumulated knowledge. The agrotourism routes will integrate in their offers hostels, airbnbs, restaurants, cultural and artistic experiences of the community that highlight our historical heritage.  

Open Space Dinner tables “Mesas de Campo” were an interactive gastronomic experience in ecological farms where the consumer learned about products directly from the land. 

Community Based Sustainable Tourism connected travelers who wanted to volunteer their time with transformative experiences related to agroecological practices and local nutrition while matching the interests of local and international volunteers with the needs for labor that have different farms. 

The combination of VisitRico’s programs opened up new value chains created in the elaboration of products for on farm consumption. Tourism and agriculture became two powerful revitalizers that combined successfully under agrotourism to diversify landscape and available healthy food offers, securing our basic basket against a future extreme event or system’s collapse. . 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Let’s play, and let’s play the soundtrack of our high vision. I hear the beautiful sound of our families laughing and maybe fighting like sisters and brothers do, just being people, lovely people. I approach Loiza and I can hear drums and smell the delicious food that makes my mouth salivate. Flying above the islands, every mountain, every islet, I see a Puerto Rico with a diversity of landscapes that I cannot distinguish between one another. 

I can’t distinguish clearly with a clear line between a farm and a forest. I see how things integrate among others the different uses that are given to the landscape. The cities are not monolithic, they are not these moles of cement. The green infrastructure incorporated in the urban is part of what we highlight in this tourism. We have a construction system for our people, it is integrated into their environment and incorporates appropriate technologies for sustainability, which includes the vision of water collection. An integrated system, people building chord.

I hear the noisy beautiful sounds of my fellow bird friends flying beside me and making their nests in luscious trees. 

Amorphous as our beautiful brains that shelter neurons that stand the winds of change, inclined by the winds of the sea. I see the adaptation of my people to clean new technologies that give a hand to our farmers. The labor we didn’t necessarily have the workforce to achieve right now.

I can sense and feel from afar that when there is one common challenge, the frugal differences mean nothing. 

I fly closer to the ground to eavesdrop on a conversation. A sun-burned farmer, proud, with her head  held high while she shares with a group of strangers that are not strangers of the world, but only of Puerto Rico, the wonders of how the decision to preserve a variety of seeds opens a window to awe. They have the same dreamers in their country. They know it and will find them when they return. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

https://vimeo.com/388593924

Food has historically been a catalyst for social, political and economic change, and given our current economic situation, I strongly believe that sponsoring local food efforts is a great starting point for dramatic change. We believe that small scale agro-ecological family farms are not only viable, but desirable and necessary. Conventional farming and biotech companies in our island jeopardize our soil and the food we feed our families. 

In 2014 we embarked on a personal journey to eliminate food problems and to make sure that VisitRico as we know it, won’t need to exist by 2050. With our slogan: Awaken a new appetite for what grows in Puerto Rico.

There is a matter of the path traveled, as VisitRico we’ve been innovative in what we’ve done and during that journey we identified challenges and deficiencies. They include communication, coordination, identifying projects, visibility and connection. Challenges that in our innovative process what we did when we joined as non-profit organization in Puerto Rico, already in itself, breaking in lots of molds. 

In that apocalyptic scenario we’ve identified what generates from the needs to then create tools for that. This gives us more weight in that we do not create them because we do need to address a need for the track record we were carrying but when the system collapses, how can we respond better.

VisitRico, from the framework provided by tourism as creative activism strategy to develop our communities, joined an alliance of The Interdisciplinary institution made with the objective to advance our food sovereignty. It is the women and men from different municipalities in Puerto Rico that are the protagonists of this effort. This effort will be build around the objective of contributing to the development of Sustainable AgroEco Culinary Tourism. This framework opens space for the construction of a social, cultural, political, economic process. It will dispose the participants to reflect and design participate in each one of the routes of splendor. These reflections let us recognize and value the importance of the knowledge and practices of each municipalities own identity, history, present and future of our rural spaces. 

After Hurricane Maria in 2017, VisitRico realized that there was no complete database of the agricultural sector because family farmers, independent, small-scale farmers or cooperatives in Puerto Rico are not parts of government statistics. Now in 2020,  after the terrible earthquakes that Puerto Rico experimented, for example, the four main need areas of family farmers, independent, small-scale or cooperative, according to data collected firsthand by Visit Rico, are: loss of housing or significant structural damage (43%), crop loss (40% ), labor (27%) and emotional damage (22%).

The largest geographic lattice of aid applications of information received comes from towns approved in a national emergency such as: Guánica, Yauco, Ponce, Peñuelas, Lajas, Adjuntas, Utuado, Lares, Cabo Rojo, San Sebastián, San Germán, Maricao. However, additional areas that have suffered collateral damage, such as: Orocovis, Las Marías, Mayagüez, Comerío, Cayey, Carolina, Arecibo, Aguada, Coamo, Caguas, Ceiba, Sábana Grande and Camuy, are also covered in the collection of applications. 

Actually, 86% of farmers are not receiving direct help of any kind, and the 44% of farms specify to be "family farms" that depend on the sale of their crops. Likewise, this network widens and deepens, since these farms employ a total of approximately 415 people who, at the same time, support their respective families.

We all know, after the chaos, the stage of regrowing in this apocalyptic world appears. For this reason, VisitRico created Data Hub: Neuroplastic Collective Network. 

The Data Hub is an updated and live data bank that allows predicting, through data crossing, various possible scenarios for optimal decision making in the agricultural sector. The Data Hub takes into account weather, season of the year, natural disasters (hurracanes, earthquakes), etc.

We expect that in 2050 farmers have already adopted these technology as a brain that forecasts and directs their routes of action in the face of the impending chaos of the apocalyptic world. Then, VisitRico will no longer have to exist.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • WhatsApp message from friend who is a grant writer.

Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.

Joy and awe, on March 2 we got the news that we were finalists of the Food System Vision Prize. By March 15, there weren't any confirmed cases of Covid-19 when the government of Puerto Rico ordered a lockdown to avoid a full-blown pandemic; a strict curfew still stands today, end of May. Against all odds, these unique circumstances allowed us to rethink Puerto Rico’s Food System like never before. This is the best time to build our Data Hub!

In the first phase of the Prize, our team presented Data Hub’s technology through the Neuroplastic Routes of Splendor project without a specific model for its construction. In the Refinement stage, we decided to formalize the Data Hub to not only describe the agricultural sector as we do know, but to predict solutions and prescribe efficient recommendations to ensure that Puerto Rican initiatives in the agricultural sector are viable, replicable and sustainable now and in the next 30 years. 

Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).

We connected with more than one stakeholder from the list in the Toolkit for about 2-8 hours. Slow Food almost made the final list. Here are the organizations that contributed 10 hours and more: 

From VisitRico, four team members committed the most time to complete the Vision with the amazing feedback received from our interviews and brainstorming sessions with stakeholders. Marimar Sotelo Padrón (Master’s in Puerto Rican and Caribbean Studies, Grant Writer and Director of Operations in VisitRico), Raymesh Cintrón (Growth Hacker), Camille Collazo (Executive Director, Design Entrepreneur) and Yanna Muriel (Farmer, Agricultural Socialpreneur). 

The Agriculture Commission of the Puerto Rico Bar Association (Public Policy) set the framework for a Puerto Rican Public Policy, Economy, and Diet interconnection for 2050. 

Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.

To include stakeholders we started by enumerating our wishlist of stakeholders by focusing their strengths in not only their line of work but also their expertise in a particular theme: environment, culture, technology, public policy, economics and diet. 

We received answers via What’s App initially and then we invited for two working sessions the most promising stakeholders on each of the 6 Themes. We connected with: Producers, Food Workers, Distributors, Processors, Preparers, Consumers, Waste Recoverers, Investors, Policy Makers, Food Innovators, NGOs, Scientists & Researchers, Students, Mass & Social Media. We also held individual meetings with particular questions. 

-To a Farmer: "If you had all the money in the world, what would you do to make your farm more resilient?”

-To a non-traditional dietitian: "Is it possible that the food problem is solved if we eat differently? What trends do you see for health in 2050?”

-To an Economist: “Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight. Economic trends?”

-To a Cultural Manager with experience in innovation/business: "How do you think culture will transform in 2050?"

-To an Experienced Entrepreneur: "What business model do you use to make Neuroplastic Routes of Splendor Data Hub?" 

-Public Policy Expert: “Can you tell us about the history of public food policy in Puerto Rico?”

-To an expert on the subject of zero waste: "Tell me, what are the trends that indicate that in PR we could be zero waste in 2050?" 

- To an expert in the law: "What are the trends that indicate that PR could produce 100% of the food in 2050?"

Stakeholders list for reference:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11zPo3kM_z_qdCj2tuQDduUN8Oegy3bhXJs8wPCA-gUA/edit?usp=sharing 

What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.

Environment:

  • Signals: a tendency to minimalism, appreciation of freedom, rainwater collection, respect for nature, small spaces for housing.

  • Trend: Planning with wellness consequences in mind, renewable energy.

Diet:

  • Signals: vegetarian and vegan, people being informed to make healthy choices on their own, disregarding food companies misinformation to sell more products, Impossible Burger, increased purchase of supplements and vitamins, more people are delivering food, more people carrying their own prepared food utensils, foodism, food Channels, food as entertainment, food porn, families eat outside their homes. More local consumption and home gardens. Food now has legs/mobility.

  • Trends: death is a disease/eating varied and local, healthy population


Culture:

  • Signals: Diaspora seeks ways to collaborate with the Island, virtuality as a key way to reorganize entertainment, teaching, traditional artistic expressions, rethink the current definition of what it means to be Puerto Rican.

  • Trends: centralization of culture, representing the concerns of the community through art: writing and music, art therapy, high-quality Virtual Reality travel options.

 

Technology:

  • Signals: age of AI, Apps for everything, Big Data solution, Internet of Things, 5G human health, energy, automation, digital organization, education that will move to the non-traditional. Full surveillance, end of privacy. A single chip that controls all your devices.

  • Trends: tax for robots, Even the heavily automated industries still rely on humans for essential tasks, Regulated big companies, since your electronic devices do not live in isolation, they are an ecosystem.


Policy:

  • Signals: changes in zonification laws to benefit investors, absence of political planning

  • Trends: There are no clear constitutions regarding illegalities and virtual rights, people organizing to understand their rights


Housing:

  • Signals: gentrification, less spatial options, alternative rent options (Airbnb), paying rent will no longer be a problem-Houses for everyone

  • Trends: cheaper rental options, fast buildings, everyone has a house - a secure roof.


Transport:

  • Signals: speed, collective transport, no individual vehicles (cars)

  • Trends: self-driving trucks, not planes, but rockets. More local distribution channels.


Work:

  • Signals: automation, jobs will be somewhat or extremely threatened by AI in the next 10 years, Human Jobs vs. AI Jobs, AI will be at the same time a replacement for blue-collar, white-collar jobs, and be a great symbiotic tool for doctors, lawyers, less employment, more work.

Trends: remote work, obsolete jobs, new metrics, and labor regulations, mental health is taken into account, increasing importance in soft skills, more people are going to feel professionally accomplished.


Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).

My favorite colors are green and pink, like the spinach and lettuce from my patio. My name is Maggie, I am 10 years old and live with my mother in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico (PR), on a farm called "Neuroplastic Farm". Neuroplastic means the ability to adapt.

In the morning, Mom works on her Data Hub actualizations. People request online what they want from our harvest and she approves the purchases. The transaction is very easy. Since VisitRico shared a version of the Data Hub software exclusively for farms in 2030, routine and administrative tasks are now automated, and each year the updates become more accurate. When I grow up, I want to be a super farmer to use the Data Hub and have my own, huge farm! 

Yesterday, the Data Hub notified us of Hurricane Victor and its impending route 15 miles from the Island in 10 days. We have a plan to secure our food. First, we activate a squad of cultivators that harvest at high speed. Then, drones drop all the harvested food into Food Hubs located in different towns in PR. Once the hurricane passes, communities will have local food reserves for 2-3 weeks, canned food for 6 months, and seeds.

At 6:00 p.m. I help mom make dinner. We don't eat heavy things at night, we like to eat salad and green things, like my favorite color, but there are also other colors in the plate like red, yellow, purple and orange. Oh, and grains!

After eating, we clean everything. I couldn't stand it and I asked Mom if she was nervous because a hurricane is coming. She told me:

"I’m calm, Maggie. Thanks to the technological advances of the last three decades, today we all communicate well and help each other. The VisitRico DataHub will help us predict the best scenarios to quickly stabilize the farm and then prescribe the best organizational strategies to strengthen ourselves again. We are neuroplastics, never forget it, Maggie! We are ready to work within any scenario that nature brings ahead. ”

I smiled, and fell asleep.


Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?

Our system confronts diversity and remains resilient in 2050 using the neuroplastic capacity that characterizes Puerto Ricans. A neuroplastic system is, by definition, capable of rapid adaptation. When the boundaries of our biology are threatened by specific factors, such as global warming, the intelligence of our species Homo sapiens is capable of creating mechanisms to survive and achieve good health and well-being. The speed and precision with which these mechanisms are created in the Caribbean is impressive, and this is largely due to our geographical location. If a hurricane strikes, the communities in a week have already gathered to prepare an organizational plan created by themselves. This resilience of ours is neither generational nor new. It has been with us since immemorial time. When our indigenous ancestors operated, they did so in the face of the same adversities as us and, without great technologies, they survived efficiently in their food environment. They spoke the language of the land, and they knew what to plant and how to do it. Their land ownership was based on the empowerment of nature, recognizing themselves as part of it. Taking care of a tree was taking care of themselves. The technology of our Food System technology will learn from our neuroplastic techniques to adapt in the Caribbean, our memories and current data, and then will elevate these techniques to a greater degree of efficiency and precision.

Now, let’s take a tour of the Environment of our Island. Our agriculture has an estimated 200 days of rain per year and the climatic variation in Puerto Rico is minimal, with an attractive 26 degrees celsius on average. We feel lucky, the kings and queens of the Caribbean, enjoying an endless summer all year long. Of course, until the month of July arrives with its heat wave, which mixes with humidity -which averages 74% - and while tourists decide to happily arrive to discover paradise, we Puerto Ricans “roast” in our houses. 

In our region, there is poor management and planning of water supplies. This, as expected, is positioned as a specific factor that is threatening our food system. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted a decrease in freshwater in the Caribbean in 2018 due to climate change. “Changes in precipitation patterns, the availability of freshwater and sensitivity to drought make the islands extremely vulnerable,” they warned in their reports.

Before Hurricane Maria, PR produced less than 5% of energy from renewable sources. After Hurricane Maria, we all ran out of electricity. Four months passed, and almost 50% of the Island was still in the dark. Citizens felt the need to make an energy transition, especially because of our wind and solar potential. Crisis reveals harsh realities that invite us to operate differently, optimize and simplify systems.

The ecological diversity we have is the result of the variety and richness of our soils, minerals, structure and organic matter. For example, the soils of the mountainous and humid zone (generally in the Interior Province) are derived from igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks of the Cretaceous Period. Soil classification is a living and changing subject, it must be constantly under our magnifying glass, since it is defenselessly altered by erosion, winds and streams. Without healthy soil you cannot sow, and then there will be no agriculture as we know it today.

Currently, our biodiversity is in a difficult situation. There are more than 50 species in danger of extinction and we lack education to conserve animal and plant life. The extinction of species is mostly native, such as the coquí, the Puerto Rican parrot and different species of reptiles. The greater the appearance of global warming, the more appearance of different diseases that were in its animal reservoir, and when the natural habitat of these animals is destroyed or a forest is destroyed, these pathogens are released and affect most of the people who keep in touch with it. A clear example of this scenario is China. In a few months a pandemic developed across the globe.

During the first phase of the Data Hub, “Descriptive”, researchers from the Academy, environmentalists, engineers, geologists, biologists, renewable energy specialists, historians and other experts in the Environment will be activated to create the complete and updated repository on this topic in the Data Hub.

Once we have the data in one place, the second phase of the Data Hub will recreate the process by which Puerto Rican Environment has evolved in the last decade. Through education it is possible to meet larger goals. One of the goals for 2050 is to have closed the recycling circle instead of exporting, that we compost and have created legislation that prohibits single-use plastic and for this we will have opened new industries on how to work substitutes for plastic.

Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?

Our Food System of 2050 will address our many diet-related diseases through regenerative earth to table Agroecological Nutrition. Starting with (1) answers from the Neonatal Phase epigenetic data, (2) the Learning Phase: School Programs that will give children STEAM skills, connect them to their indigenous –> present patrimony gastronomy, in contact with Vitamin N (Nature), to then (3) partake STEAM Jobs in the AgriCultural and Visitor Economy. 

“As a Puerto Rican community, we have far fewer savings and far fewer cushions to withstand the economic effects of stopping the economy. That’s what drove hunger with the Covid-19 pandemia. The loss of wages, the loss of school meals, and the limited benefits that people have received to withstand these effects. Under normal circumstances, 58% of children depend on the school lunch program.” Gualberto Rodríguez, USDA FoodBox Distributor during Covid 19 (view stakeholders).

Agroecological Nutrition will be the primary focus and it will be measured by learning through our micronutrients in our white blood cells on a cellular level. This will show where to make the necessary epigenetic changes through diet and other early decisions. We can change the damaged genetic chip from a family disease. Our Food Vision 2050 will advocate for mass micronutrient testing, reasonable co-pay health system. We can identify deficiencies in micronutrients at the individual level, and we could take matters into our hands. Then, the preconditions that come along our family history will not develop. Getting to know yourself on a cellular level gives you security and enthusiasm to face the world. As you can see, we are talking about data, and collecting it for analysis is the work of our Data Hub.

When in School, kids will learn Health Sciences in their STEAM Programs: Farmtrition, (Farming + Nutrition) Domestic Economy mandatory classes. They will learn that when the earth regenerates she can then give us the nutrients we need. That is why biodiversity is so important, to constantly regenerate our soil. New generations could treat seeds as part of their inherited wealth. Both animals, soil and people will be treated equally.  

Our immune system will be strengthened by being challenged by the entire environment by going outdoors: out to fields, grounding, beach, pollen, raw honey. Children will walk home feeling like heroes and heroines with their backpacks full of food after a good harvest semester, choosing the bicycle to share the crops on with their neighbors after school. 

At the end of each class year, they will be invited to a VisitRico Farm to Table, where we will practice Earth to Table values, savour fresh local food prepared by local chefs, and experience the mixture from past wisdom recipes from our grandparents and great-grandparents, to intake that common sense with the mixture of the future, working positively for us. 

Our vision shares a common goal with Farmers. They emphasize the need to strengthen our support networks. If we have a community, not just my neighbors and producers, there will be a broader capacity to survive catastrophes. With the Data Hub technology and ourselves as human resources, we will be the guardians of our land and our health. 

Conversations are crucial in healing and growing. We have advanced knowledge in nutrition and we do not want to miss that, nutrition remains key. We look back at our childhood and how much effort our parents gave to make us safe. They did with what they knew then. That will be a thing of the past. In our Vision, kids will know and their families will have one less thing to worry about.

Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?

The jobs that will support living wages in 2050 will be found in the creative, logistical, and technological development sectors, primarily because those are the areas of need to maintain our food system. We will need entrepreneurs, farmers, students, executives, investors, with skills such as intuition and forward thinking, adaptive thinking, resilience, emotional intelligence, intercultural communication skills, analytical reasoning and data-focused skills, business development, sales, creative entrepreneurship, food innovation, long-term planning, etc., to serve as forces working for the future food system of 2050. Rescuing diversity of thought, honoring knowledge of our land, and giving space to those who master the new trends in global warming, trade, technological innovation, dietary preferences, and consumer behaviors, for example, is important to the potential development of Data Hub and, consequently, of a sustainable food system for Puerto Rico.

Speaking numbers to better understand our economy, the population of Puerto Rico in 2010 was 3,725,603 inhabitants and by 2019 it was reduced to 3,193,694 inhabitants. This represents a loss of 531,909 inhabitants. The urban population in 2010 was 93.8% with 6.2% of the rural population. In 1960 the rural population was 55.8% and 44.2% the urban population. By 2019, as a product of the migration to the United States intensified after Hurricane Maria, we have lost more population and our rural population has been further undermined. This last decade and a half is known for many as, “The Lost Decade”.

For every $ 100 dollars in the purchase of imported products, $ 80 goes out of Puerto Rico and only $ 20 remains in the local economy. On the contrary, for every $ 100 dollars that are bought from local products, $ 20 dollars go out of Puerto Rico and $ 80 dollars impact the local economy. Producing what we consume in Puerto Rico is a solid and permanent guarantee for our economic development.

The new agricultural labor force based on modern education, technology, and awareness of the relationship between consumption of what we produce as a source of creating national wealth to sustain economic development, must go hand in hand with advancing public programs and policies on the following topics: 

1. Water resource, food policies, and agroecological agriculture. Jobs: Fishermen/women, Aquaculture Farmer, Oceanographer, Geographers, Marine Biologist, Veterinary Medicine, Lawyers, Farmers, Videographers, Graphic Designers, Journalists, Teachers, Writers.

2. Appropriate and accessible equipment and machinery on a family farm scale. Jobs: Agricultural Engineer, Computer Scientist, Astronauts, Astronomer, Space Scientists, Agroforestry.

3. Organic Nutrients: Jobs: Food Chemist, Epigeneticists, Nutritionist, Health Coach

4. The Puerto Rico Health System by 2050. Jobs: Doctors / Integrative Medicine, Biologist, Botanist, Farmer, Environmental Scientist.

5. Regional, community and municipal agricultural markets. Jobs: Social Entrepreneurs, Videographers, Graphic Designers, Journalists, Writers.

6. Agriculture in the food chain and the elements of sustainability. Jobs: Supply Chain Managers.

7. A public policy elevated to constitutional rank that integrates all the sectors that interact with agriculture such as agroecological practices, health, the environment, sustainability and others. Jobs: Lawyers, Economists, Legislators, NonProfit Administrations.


Nevertheless, the emergence of an ideal and sustainable food system is not possible if the Puerto Rican inhabitants who benefit from the system have not reached an individual level of their ideal potential. This relationship of personal self-realization of individuals is directly proportional to gender equality. If in a community its inhabitants cannot enjoy access to the same resources, at some point our food system will fail to all of us. This equation is simple, but powerful. We cannot suppose that the elimination of prejudices and the confrontation to biological differences of gender will occur without specific actions. For our part, this Vision assumes the responsibility of planning and making decisions through our proposal, Neuroplastic Routes of Splendor, that are an example of gender equality. From its conception to its formalization, the Data Hub -heart of our proposal- has been thought to evolve in conjunction with a society that at an economic, social, political, cultural and environmental level works so that our children grow up in a more respectful, reasonable and fair Puerto Rico.

When our children become professionals in the sectors they select, they will be able to develop as healthy, happy humans, with stable job offers at salary levels. The goal is that the range of job offers that the Data Hub in Puerto Rico promotes will offer equal opportunities for all its components. All that is missing is the will, education and dedication of an entire People to achieve that goal. 

Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?

Against all odds, identity is an invitation back to earth. In the Caribbean we all come half smeared with magic. If you are Puerto Rican, you experience that Antillean culture is to immerse ourselves in the luxury to feel that we relax and contract on a par with the archipelago. Our Caribbean identity dissolves in water; we can immerse ourselves in it and -together- swim.

Great diversity! There are several types of Puerto Ricans, but there is one in particular that is going to be extremely important in ensuring that cultural, spiritual, and community traditions flourish: the Puerto Rican who values Latinity and its Caribbean identity. That type of Puerto Rican is key to saving collectivism. A curious fact is that this type of Puerto Rican not only lives in Puerto Rico, but is present in a way, perhaps even stronger, in other geographical areas -especially in the United States- where they have created community. This phenomenon of a Puerto Rico that transcends borders can be used as an advantageous reality. From collective entrepreneurship, structures can be created that retain the talent of a country. Having this great external "arm" that Puerto Ricans have in the diasporas, possibilities to sustain and evolve ourselves culturally are quickly strengthened.

Our Vision aims to ensure that the diet of Puerto Ricans is local, with Caribbean interconnection and closer to nature through adequate technological design. How do we do this through culture? What we eat and how we eat it indicates and confirms our life and development, our culture which, in turn, is a reflection of the reality of our people and their history. Redirecting our collective reality to a state that reflects values of sustainability that have not been practiced in the past is to create an innovative mindset. This ideological transition can not be implemented in 24 hours. Furthermore, it is crucial to mention that we are not working with the best predictions. Depending on how it is perceived, Puerto Rico is emptying and impoverishing itself.

Agriculture must be observed beyond the spectrum of cost-effectiveness because it transcends the economic issue. Its value is cultural identity. It's a matter of sustainability! 

Food sovereignty is one important aspect that attracts people to a geographical space. At this point, in 2050 the State in Puerto Rico should have invested billions in agriculture (as it did with the pharmaceutical companies at the time), to subsidize this agricultural sector that represents an opportunity to retain human talent. The State, although it plays a leading role in the transition to a population mentality inclined towards sustainability, is not the only protagonist in this story. 

The heart of our Food System is the Data Hub. In its phase I, called “Descriptive”, the knowledge inherited from our indigenous natives and the intergenerational knowledge will be part of the data repository. Since our Vision feeds on the neuroplastic behavior that characterizes our Puerto Rican community, we will eventually deeply understand our bioculture through our Data Hub to consciously learn about our biological inclinations and their cultural manifestations. In addition to making predictions or creating alliances to strengthen the Stakeholder network, the Data Hub documents the memories of our ancestors so that we can contrast how much of that mentality is still active in us. That short memory or collective memory will be preserved. The best practices of our ancestors will be accessible through the Data Hub and will serve as an engine for new cultural, spiritual and community traditions and / or practices to flourish for the Island.

Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?

Neuroplastic Routes of Splendor Vision is system focused, inspired by our Puerto Rican roots and the creative methodologies to fight, adapt and flourish that we have demonstrated throughout our history as a community. In our system, technology will be accessible, intuitive, reliable and as robust as a farmer's hand while just as sharp as a hawk’s eye, recognizing a camouflaged mouse from 30 meters away; an open-source so that anyone could see, modify, and distribute it as deemed necessary.

If we interconnect the available advances to convert them into technological ecosystems -an association similar to the one executed for the 6 Themes-, the opportunity opens up to create worlds that were previously imaginary. Can you imagine a prototype of a resilient, diverse, and healthy farm whose food production does not stop for long periods when a hurricane arrives? Can you finally see a healthy Puerto Rico committed to the future by assuming current responsibility for updating structures, which makes room to serve as an example of conservation for the entire world? We see it. 

Today our reality is what was fiction a decade ago. Fifteen years ago you could not order organic seeds online in Puerto Rico. Two years ago there wasn’t a 2-inch smart plug that could autonomously control a hydroponic system from anywhere. Drones, robots, solar and wind power, energy-efficient appliances, internet of things, epigenetic testing, zoom meetings! High-tech is everywhere. Our living Data Hub connects these LEGO pieces to construct clear value equality, growing safe, high-quality food and reducing environmental impact through effective planning in the medium and long term. We have divided the connection process into a three-phase model of the Data Hub. Each phase is in charge of a particular task: phase 1) describe, phase 2) predict, phase 3) prescribe.

In agriculture, planning has been largely like playing monopoly. Our system thinks that this attitude is obsolete and that it is time to prepare to transition. Data and prediction will be accessible to farmers of all scales. It will have optimized specific case scenarios for how to quickly stabilize farms and prescribe the best organizational strategies based on the descriptive-predictive-prescriptive model. Because technology is part of human evolution, we will advance when we embrace it in a way that promotes healthier communities. Through the Data Hub, we are going to take ownership over our information to manage our own resources. 

The year 2020 is not the time to continue in agricultural precarious conditions. Geological maps of Puerto Rico, with all the data accessible to farmers, helps decide what is better to plant, where and how. Carbon cycles behavior and how to unlock the potential for monetizing carbon capture and sequestration must be taught. Where are our air, water, nutrients and micronutrients, soil, and real-time analysis sensors? Bring them in! New skill sets are needed to attract different profiles to farming; welcome to IT, marketing, and logistics to small and medium farms!  

The sensitive wealth of our limited resources directly impacts the Data Hub model. At the moment, we know more perfection in nature than in technology. Therefore, it is totally normal to expect counterproductive situations related to technology. This external factor whose functionality is to solve our problems, ironically can cause problems too. We must minimize its possible negative impact in our Vision. We will address this claim through basic commands that will dictate the "how to" of this technology. We will teach the Data Hub to wait for us humans to decide whether we want to execute its prescriptions or not, we will teach it to "drop" the tasks we want to review or execute ourselves, and we will teach it to be flexible, above all else. Puerto Rico needs technology that "understands" how changing our reality is. The Data Hub will be neuroplastic, just like us. We will build it as if it were just another member of the family, one who is extremely intelligent and capable of quickly providing solutions that integrate natural and artificial elements to feed people. 

Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?

One of Puerto Rico's most serious public health problems is the alarming increase in diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, metabolic conditions, cancer, thyroid diseases and all in one way or another related to inflammatory conditions as a basis of these diseases. This has as a consequence an investment of millions of public funds in the treatment of these conditions in the face of the fact that the origin or cause of each of them is not addressed.

 At present, Puerto Rico does not have pertinent and coherent legislation on food policy. The last pertinent legislation on the subject was approved in 2017 (PUERTO RICO PLANNING, PROGRAMMING AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT ACT, ACT No. 73 OF AUGUST 5, 2017) where such legislation is justified on the grounds that Puerto Rico never had a permanent agricultural policy, beyond every 4 years. In fact, in the Explanatory Memorandum of said Law it is recognized that the legislation on this subject is historically inconsistent and conflicting among themselves. This has led the Government to believe that the solution is to continue importing agricultural products and not direct public efforts to increase production on our farms.

Does Puerto Rico have the capacity to increase its agricultural production? Can this increase be enough to supply our basic food basket? Puerto Rico has historically demonstrated that it has the capacity to produce enough food to satisfy our basic food basket. Sufficient food was produced here for consumption in Puerto Rico and for export. For example, in the MUNICIPALITY OF UTUADO for the year 1896 a historical inventory of 1,202 farms is documented. The size of these farms ranged from 8 to 1,200 cords. The average was 100 strings. Part of this production was for local consumption and part for export. (The Future of Utuado by Ramón Morel Campos. 1896)

What external factors forced public policies to redirect the increase in agricultural production in Puerto Rico? The Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II provoked a collective awareness of food insecurity in Puerto Rico. We could no longer depend on US agricultural production and there was no alternative but to return to our farms to solve the problem of food insecurity. By 1938, 65% of all food consumed locally was produced in Puerto Rico. As for sugar, coffee, fruits and nuts 100%; eggs, 95%; vegetables, 80%; dairy products, 65%; meats, 45%; legumes, 40%; shellfish and fish, 15%.

food production 1938-39. (Source: EB Hill and JR Noguera, "The Food Supply of Puerto Rico." Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 55, August 1940, Río Piedras.)

What remains as public policy are supermarkets as new forms of distribution of food consumer products and as a consequence, to fill the shelves of these supermarkets, they began to depend on the import of food products. This happened because the previous public policy of increasing agricultural production to fill these gondolas by distributing local products was eliminated. 

What can we do now in 2020 so that our food system in 2050 fulfills the expectation of local agriculture, integrating food policy with the economic development of Puerto Rico?

The Foreign Trade Statistics of the Puerto Rico Planning Board for 2018 reflect a trend of increasing imports of organic products such as tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, carrot, strawberry, grape, onion, radish, pea, asparagus, celery, bell pepper, china, lemon, lime, grapefruit, melon, apple, pear, peach, raspberry, and spinach, among many others. This represents that our youth is creating an increasing awareness of the relationship between healthy foods and health.

This new Puerto Rican youth demonstrated great collective strength to change a Government in the summer of 2019 and without a doubt, this strength can be translated into achieving the implementation of a new agricultural policy integrating technology, nutrition, economic development and an educational system. This collective strength and energy of our youth could be the equivalent of the change produced by the Great Depression and World War II. The big difference is that this new trend is born in Puerto Rico, contrary to those we have previously identified that were beyond our control. To guarantee public health and economic development, we need to give permanence to an agricultural public policy.

Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.

The 6 Themes do not depend on each other all the time in the same way. Connections are and will be in constant shift, creating different combinations of dependency between them, but our Data Hub will neuriplastically adapt to it. Due to our reality as Puerto Ricans, there are scenes that are more essential to us than others, such as tourism. In this case, for example, Environment is directly related to the Economy sector. How? The connections are varied and changing, but one of them is the disappearance of the coasts and beaches would affect the tourism sector, a crucial grabber of our economy, and subsectors such as agrotourism would be significantly reduced. We cannot allow this agrotourism reduction scenario for 2050. Developing experiences such as gastronomic routes, outdoor sports, visits to ecological orchards and field tables we have an undeniable opportunity not only to educate ourselves as a society, but to position ourselves as a Conservation Center on an international level. The VisitRico Data Hub makes this path towards sustainability of the Environment possible, starting with obtaining enough data to create real and effective planning for Puerto Rico. Due to our political situation, we do not have the capacity to participate in international forums and discussions, but this does not translate into having our arms crossed. 

Yes, there is something we can do. We most focus on agriculture and agro-ecosystem management of water cycles, fertilization, seeds and food production in environments that are less isolated and approach more diverse social groups. We insist that agroecology is no longer a nostalgic issue for marginalized “hippie” farmers, it has become, from the United Nations, the option to feed humanity. An added value that excites us as a team is the possibility, due to the geographical similarities, of sharing this plan with other Caribbean islands and, in this way, strengthening ties of international Caribbean collaboration.

Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.

Puerto Rico never had a permanent Agricultural Policy beyond every 4 years, and to guarantee public health  we need to give permanence to an Agricultural Public Policy. This legal consistency will allow farmers and their projects to enjoy a higher degree of stability. This solidity makes it easy to achieve the annual goals of the island's agricultural projects and, eventually, their scaled Economic growth. The decisions made to gradually achieve the revenue goals of each farm will be suggested by the predictions and prescriptions of the Data Hub. 

The increase in growth is accompanied by capital to invest in Technology. Moving the automation process forward will require each farm to invest in machinery, logistics, and distribution. As a direct effect of optimal care of land and water, the Environment will receive from our community the attention it requires to guard its wealth. This multi-sectoral advance cannot stay here! It must be celebrated and shared. Agrotourism is the window to attract people to participate in this healthy revolution. In activities like Farm To Table VisitRico, as a nonprofit, you will use creative activism to educate about nutrition and Diet. Our immune system will be strengthened by being challenged by the entire environment by going outdoors. Little by little, our new reality will reflect the Culture of well-being and respect for nature. 

All 6 Themes have connectors that allow them to bond with each other as needed. We here present a simple example of the dance between the 6 Themes as an interesting exercise. As a team, we have understood that our Vision is clear, but the scenario in which it develops and evolves is "alive". The problems that will arise and are not yet contemplated require the ability to adapt, but, as Sthephen Hawking would say, this is an intelligence and we already have it as Puerto Ricans. 

3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?

In Puerto Rico, we do not have reliable and abundant statistics in the agricultural sector, therefore, to make wise decisions and predictions becomes a monumentally difficult task. The first step towards our vision will be to execute the process of formalizing our Data Hub. To proceed in that direction, the three key milestones that VistRico Team would need to achieve within the next three years will be as follows: 


1.)  Phase I: Descriptive-  start the first statistical repository of the Puerto Rican agricultural sector, which will include as a first step the profiles of all Puerto Rican farms: age of the agricultural project, what they harvest, type of soil, current needs, weaknesses and strengths, points of sale, transactional methods, marketing methods, etc.

2.) Phase II: Predictive- a compilation of positive and negative experiences that have affected the agricultural sector in the past is carried out. The intervention of creative designers and thinkers will be a game-changer to develop a manual of best practices for Puerto Rican farms.

3.) Phase III: Prescriptive- a selection of multi-sectoral representatives in the six Themes to establish, based on real working data, a business model for the Data Hub.

10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?

Ten years from now, our Vision has an ambitious, but clear goal, and our three-year plan, without a doubt, is a selection of specific phases that feed the initial model selected for the Data Hub: descriptive-predictive-prescriptive and complete its Pilot formalization. 

The specific goal for 2030 is to make accessible to each farm in Puerto Rico a customized extension of the Data Hub, which has already become a technology capable of fully automating routine and administrative tasks. Every year, the Data Hub will receive updates to make its predictions and prescriptions more accurate. An excellent example is an accuracy with which it will predict the arrival of hurricanes. (Read and enjoy our "A Day in a Life"). This will make appropriate planning possible so that the various communities on the Island can prioritize their food security. 

This important progress of socializing the Data Hub with our farmers will allow them to generate planning for their agricultural projects, for the first time in history, in the medium (1-2 years)  and long (3-7 years) term. This would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050 because already the attitude of the agricultural sector will not be to react, but "to act" based on a Plan, where they will have access to predictions, prescriptions and possible consequences of their actions and inactions.

If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?

We are pursuing the difficult path, we are aware of that. Although we are convinced that our effort is extremely necessary, winning the Prize would first serve as validation for ourselves, our multigenerational team, our current alliances, our own government, Puerto Rican consumers and, above all, it would give voice and validity to the agricultural sector of Puerto Rico. Our small and medium-scale farmers are clear that they are key in the reinvention of our food system, but the multisectoral perspective remains to be clarified.

Second, VisitRico has a dream of laying the cornerstone for a strategic agricultural movement in Puerto Rico. Since the Island has experienced a wave of emigration, we need to create local jobs. With the money from the Prize, we will (1) secure our staff and add new jobs in data science and statistics to develop the DataHub needs for Phase 1. Grant writing and business development to secure a second source of funding for Phase 2, by writing a hybrid for-profit business model which includes our VisitRico farm in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. (2) Strengthen the relationships we’ve made in an affordable shared workspace that will serve as our Center for Agricultural Innovation in rural Puerto Rico (to revitalize our rural areas). 

We have to start embracing agriculture for what it is: a great ecosystem of collective ecological memories (EM) we are part of, need to learn from and embrace for the future. This Center for Agricultural Innovation will place agriculture as an essential organism that will participate in each stage of the redesign of Puerto Rico through our Neuroplastic Routes of Splendor Vision by the year 2050. 

If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?

That time tightens how we all end up caring about the what’s, how’s, and why’s of food as a universal language. For us, it was disease and identity who opened the pandora box and along we met amazing people, the agricultural community in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the World. We’ve learned how not to get distracted by THE NOISE of content, media, the struggle against a strong current that pushes us back, the bills, new pandemias. Because what we lacked was Organization. Clarity. Focus. Listen. Our vision is about how to make knowledge functional and alive: intergenerational, interdisciplinary and multisector. 

Job creation has to go hand in hand with public policy goals. We realized to think local includes our neighboring islands of the Caribbean, to socially buffer the growth and sorrows. 

So the last question,...Who? Who are you with and the relationships you build around shared biodiversity and bioculture is what matters the most. We need to learn to cherish them more than ever. If we listen carefully, the seed dictates the alliance. There is a hunger for unity & partnership amongst the Caribbean community. It illustrates our willingness to expand outside the common notion of community.  We are hopeful about the future, sharing, dancing, eating our history through seeds our neighbors saved for us, and wonder about our strengths through the colorful intergenerational dinner conversations in Loiza, Utuado, Arecibo, Cabo Rojo…, and also with our Caribbean neighbors. Salud!

Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.

https://vimeo.com/424151109/

Full Refined Vision: https://vimeo.com/424137294

8 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hey Camille Collazo  we're about to reach the Refinement phase submission deadline in less than an hour. Make sure you've update all your application question responses in the submission. Also ensure your submission is "Published". Feel free to tag me in here or email us at foodsystemvisionprize@ideo.com incase you face any technical issues with the submission.

Wish you all the best

View all comments