By Gen Rollins
In a region whose funds are diverted to its hungry colonial captor, the questions of food security and well-being are always present for the people of Puerto Rico. The looming ghost of insecurity battles against centuries of tools and mastery in working through societal troubles. Fighting through soil is a tiring battle when dealing with colonization alone, but to do so after nature has come in full force, and aid is roadblocked, is an even greater ordeal.
La Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico shouts, “¡AYUDA A LEVANTAR LA AGRICUlTURA ECOLÓGICA PUERTORRIQUEÑA TRAS EL IMPACTO DEL HURACÁN MARÍA!” The soil is shaken, and mud is sliding away nutrients at rates too fast to catch. Although the Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, is facing the strife of cleaning up a disaster under poor leadership from number 45, she sees with a clear mind the extent of post-hurricane damage.
Puerto Rico is in constant revolution, breathing out the upheaval of a colonialist hand that more often dismisses than recognizes its people. Movements in agricultural fields have been pushing to reindigenize diets, both to the people and the land. According to Vox, Puerto Rico imports 85% of its food. This means that the majority of Puerto Rico’s food is nutrient deficient, and missing a connection to the land that cultures build upon.
Organic foods and farming come with the stigma of class on the island, just as they do on the mainland. Veganism and vegetarianism are common class indicators as well. Still, people are trying to rebuild from the storm in the most environmentally sound ways possible. The intensity of the storms are highly representative of just how much damage anthropogenic climate change has caused, making restoration an opportunity for practicing the healthy nurturing of food and food systems.
When a culture is used to “being handled” by so many, it gets diluted, like the soil after massive rains. Puerto Ricans are faced with the endless task of bailing themselves out of other people’s storms, so the fervent efforts to feed what seeds are left, is of immediate and vital importance. Puerto Rico will not be the same land, but it will be rebuilt, and this time, by the hands of the people.