Meet Ian, a young farmer from Puerto Rico

Ian is a 26-years-old farmer and the Creator Coordinator of the “School of Agro-ecological Producers and Promoters”. He is an Ecological Urban Agriculture Professor and also coordinates the Environmental Education Resource.

“Since I was 13 years old, I have been dedicating all my time to ecological farming in a small family farm at Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. I represent the continuity of a family of farmers that had an interruption of two entire generations that were not involved in the farm.

At our farm Farm I have to take care of 69 acres. During the last 6 months we have been working to recover the farm from more than 20 years of fallow. Up to now, we have around 2 acres of an agroecological food production based on key ingredients of the Puerto Rican dish. In addition, we are constantly developing the educative component of our agroecological project, which in¬cludes designing and offering various intensive courses on agroecology during the year. This year we offered a four months Agroecology intensive course at the farm. For the summer of 2015 we have designed an animal power course for the farm based on Puerto Rican peasant’s knowledge. Also, I have offered various courses on Ecological Urban Farming in a local university.

After completing my university studies on agronomy and sustainable soil resto¬ration practices and after my involvement in the Puerto Rican agroecology movement, I realized that sustainable farming, specifically agroecology, is the most holistic approach to seriously address the right to food and food sovereignty in the entire world. This made me an activist for agroecology and food sovereignty and I joined national organizations like Organizing Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica, Frente de Res¬cate Agrícola, “Nada Santo Sobre Monsanto. My agroecological activism includes agroecological lobbying with local politicians, popular education, dictation of academic conferences, organization of public demonstra¬tions and a debate for governor candidates on agriculture during the last elections.

As part of our compromise with agroecology movement, we have been developing an Agroecological School with intention to create a new generation of Puerto Rican agroecological farmers. We are conscious of the great need to produce and promote agroecological knowledge for the benefit of the entire world. Within the last two years of the Agroecological School, which is built upon our more than 15 years practical experience of organic farming and from our academic experiences, more than 70 students gained knowledge about the practical and political foundations of agroecology and benefited from this non-profit initiative. This is part of our contribution to the Puerto Rican food sovereignty.

Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet and Expo Milano 2015 offers a perfect platform to propose alternatives how to really feed the planet in an ecological and social fair way; which is the only real way. I really believe in the philosophy of thinking globally and acting locally, and all our actions on the island support this.

Clean and fair food cannot be seen as luxuries object for just a few of us. Nutritious, abundant and fair food is a right for the entire human race, and agroecology offers exactly that: the possibility of healthy and nutritious food for everyone based on social and environmental responsible production systems. The agroecological models have been replicating around the world and evidenced its potential to properly address the global food and environmental crisis, and in Puerto Rico it’s not the exception. I am part, with other young good farmers, of a new generation of Puerto Rican ecological farmers that work hard to produce healthy food and demonstrate new sustainable and more environmentally logical ways to produce food accessible to the people.

The alternatives are in the hands of peasant farmers, which are actually already producing most of the food in the world. Small and medium scale agroecological farming is the most sensible alternative to responsibly feed the world. Recently, the science has been demonstrating the ability of agroecology to produce the same or even greater yields of real quality food than industrial farming that is highly depending on external inputs that causes an envi¬ronmental and social disastrous footprint.

Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet will expose the participants to all the global tendencies, proposals and approaches to address the right to have access to food. Some will match but others will oppose our agroecological proposal. The most important is that we will have the opportunity to expose the agroecology with facts and with our own experience as farmers to a global audience. Also, we will return with personal experiences and debates that will enrich our local roles and community. 

See you in Milan.
Ciao, Ian,
Slow Food Youth Network Boricua (Puerto Rico)