Hello! This morning I realized we choose Small Company. We are a 501c3 Small Non Profit Organization. More than one Team Member logged in one account writing and pasting content, same answer by mistake got to answer two questions.
[1/2 10:27 a. m.] Camille: 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. (3,000 characters)
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, becasue 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 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 1970’s were crucial because it brought supermarkets to Puerto Rico. There was no need to produce the land for 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 on 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 to Puerto Rico. These equals 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.