Great progress in our first year - Still more to be done!

November 2018

Dear friends and supporters of Amigos de Puerto Rican Eco Farmers,

In late 2017 we started this small charitable project to help small organic farms in Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria. We received our first donations in January of 2018 and with your generous help went on to raise over ten thousand dollars so far this year. With your donations we were able to directly and meaningfully assist six farmers on the island with just under nine thousand dollars in grants ranging from several hundred dollars to just under our current maximum grant of two-thousand five hundred dollars. We helped farmers replace destroyed greenhouses and barn roofs, helped pay for the extra labor needed to clear fallen trees and debris and purchased chainsaws, trimmers  and other tools to help them clean up the mess, rebuild and replant. We purchased organic fertilizer, irrigation equipment, a wheelbarrow. And from the smallest item to the largest, from the small fruit and herb farm to the larger vegetable operation serving the San Juan market, your help made a difference and was deeply appreciated.  Thank you so much!

At the same time, we were unable to assist some of the larger requests for assistance that were beyond our current capabilities and applications both large and small continue to come in to us. Even now a year later, farms have destruction they have not been able to address and the need continues for clearing, cleaning up and replanting, especially with perennial trees and crops. But also, we hear from our contacts there that the recovery efforts have helped generate a resurgence of interest in eco-agriculture in Puerto Rico and many new farms are starting up and new markets are opening. We hope to continue to support these efforts to rebuild and revitalize local and organic food in Puerto Rico. We can assist farmers with erosion controlling terracing, help plant new varieties of gourmet cacao and support an initiative for a Puerto Rican cacao co-operative or farm based education programs for children. As farmers there move forward in recovery and work toward growing a far greater portion of the food in Puerto Rico, they are coming up with new ideas and models for resiliency knowing that someday the winds may blow again. We would like to continue to be a part of this effort and welcome your support.

News from Puerto Rico

Good Morning

We like to personally thank you for your support helping us rebuild. We are so grateful for having support in this time of need, we are sure we can rebuild quickly thanks to your help.

We are SANA a small family farm located in Cabo Rojo P.R. We grow seasonal vegetables, teas and fruit and sell them at our local farmers markets and at our SANA farm stand food truck in Rincon. This November we were about to open our first Farm to table Restaurant.

Hurricane Maria has affected us dearly, we feel our livelihood has been stricken in its core. Our business was more than just a business, it is our life project. We lost all of our belongings, our crops and livestock were heavily affected and our inventory and supplies were washed away in a muddy flood.  We build SANA from the grown up literally, we invested from our pockets because we believed in our dream. Luckily, we always managed to stay afloat in a debt stricken economy. 

Our mission was to provide top-quality food to our community and empower other farmers to grow sustainable and organic crops. After years of hard work, our brand was recognized island wide for providing the best in quality organic products.  This positive response gave us the impulse to make a big investment and open our first SANA farm to table restaurant.

 This catastrophic event has set us back in time 10 years, all the equipment, tools, inputs, inventory and overall farm that we have acquired over the years was destroyed. The ripple effect is that without equipment, electricity and inventory we cannot supply our SANA product line to our distributors and hence our cash flow is low to pay the employees.

We had a successful CSA (community Supported Agriculture) program, with over 150 active members, we are unable to supply them for the moment until we get growing again which will take some time, most members have already left the island and our community is suffering. We managed to slowly supply the farmers market again with fast growing crops. We are still without electricity and have to pump out water with a generator, which we have to keep under tight supervision, due to the circumstances. However, we are confident that we can get thru this and we have just had to focus on growing food again and halt herbs and tea production for the moment.

Our farm and our co-op farmers were affected as well! Like most farmers we were getting ready for high season and with the new restaurant, we decided to double the investment and grow more variety of crops. Plastic was ripped from the green houses and all the new plantings were washed away.  Our lost inventory included seeds, compost, farm equipment, processing equipment and 200 chickens and the coop which we have had no access till this month.

We still have students on the farm working hard to help us rebuild. We may have lost material things but we haven’t lost HOPE, so thank you again for all your help.

Thank you so much again. 

May you all be blessed,

Sonia Carlo, SANA Farm, Cabo Rojo, PR