After Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, about eighty-percent of the agriculture has been destroyed, including cacao farms. One particular farm, owned by Juan and Maria, known as the Jeanmarie Chocolat hacienda, was decimated. One of the major challenges to get the farm up and running is repairing a bridge on their property that leads to their farm, which collapsed under the impact of the hurricane. In addition to repairing the bridge, equipment needs to be brought in to clear the downed trees and begin the process of planting new trees. Juan and Maria started their farm in 2009 and have been instrumental in leading the way in sustainable farming. They have been focused on educating and helping other cacao farmers learn how to grow their farms. As one other family-owned cacao farmer told me, “Juan is the key, as he is leading the way for other cacao farmers.”
It is up to the farmers to rebuild, and it is up to Puerto Rico to lead the way in creating a better future. Our efforts will be to help them rebuild.