Our latest project is a collaboration and research project with Fusion Farms in Mayaguez. This is a 11,500 foot plus research and growing facility that specializes in aquaponics, growing many different types of vegetables and herbs.
Unfortunately Puerto Rico currently imports up to 90 percent of the food that is consumed locally. The need to become sustainable and self sufficient is incredibly important on an island. There is currently only a 17-21 day supply of food if all outside food imports were to stop.
Creating Food Sovereignty
|"Food sovereignty is the right of communities to choose where and how their food is produced, as well as what food they consume. The food sovereignty movement seeks to guarantee these basic rights for communities around the world and Fusion Farms is creating that option for Puerto Rico with our hurricane-protected vertical aquaponic farms. Decades of inequitable farm and trade policy have devastated the fabric of family farm agriculture and rural communities in Puerto Rico. Now, we are fighting against corporate control of agriculture and the food dumping that happens in Puerto Rico and encouraging family farmers and fisherman to lead the way in changing the food system in Puerto Rico."|
High Tech Research Beehives
Currently we are installing high tech bee hives that monitor heat, humidity, and sound to access the health and status of the bees. These beehives have foraging access to both the inside of the facility as well as the outside. As technology progresses using indoor hydroponic and aquaponic farming allows for a much safer and consistent production of food. The facility is currently in the process of upgrading to 100 percent solar so in the event of another hurricane production will be able to continue. The bees will also be protected as the hive resides inside the protection of the building.
Bee Pollination Versus Hand Pollination
Having bees pollinate crops such as strawberries and tomatoes versus having to hand pollinate will make a huge difference in the ability to easily scale the size of production. In addition bee pollination has been proven to increase the size and amount of production upwards of forty percent.
• Bee-pollinated plants produced 40% more fruits than artificially-pollinated plants.
• Bee-pollinated fruits contained more seeds than those pollinated artificially.
• Bee-pollinated fruits were heavier than those pollinated artificially.
• Bee-pollinated fruits presented lees variability in all measured traits
At Fusion Farms, the fish, tilapia, are raised in large subterranean ponds, where they are overseen by Fusion Farms’ aquaculture experts and tended to by our carefully trained staff. The water in the tank accumulates fish waste, which, when broken down by bacteria, creates a potent natural fertilizer for plants. This water is continuously flushed out of the fish tanks and through the complex network of deep-water rafts and racks in Fusion Farms’ grow facility. The nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish.
This all takes place within a closed system or “controlled environment,” in which temperature, humidity, and other important variables for agriculture can be carefully managed. The aim of this control is to recreate an outdoor environment that is super conducive to fast and healthy plant growth and yet is protected from bad weather, molds, pests, disease, and harmful pathogens, without the need for chemical interference, like pesticides. Without the interruption of nighttime, overcast days, and seasons influencing the grow cycle, we can essentially grow food 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and deliver seed-to-harvest produce in as little as 21 days.
How You Can Help
This is an exciting project that we are proud to be a part of. Creating a stronger food infrastructure for Puerto Rico is an absolute must. If you are interested in learning more, donating or volunteering please reach out to us via email, we love connecting with our supporters.