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The Raíces crew was greeted with hospitality everywhere we went on the island during our January 2018 sustainable disaster support trip. Doña Carmen gave us a break from turning the earth in the small bean patch we were about to plant to take a…

Doña Carmen Soto of Finca Mi Casa bringing coffee and homemade muffins to give us some fuel to continue to our work and travels.

Raíces Director Francisco G. Gómez and volunteer Christina Proxenos working the earth at Finca Mi Casa under the direction of Don Luis Soto. During our visit, we planted a small patch of three varieties of beans for seed saving from some of the…

Don Luis and the Raíces crew immediately began preparing earth and planting seeds for a few varieties of beans after Don Luis chose the seed varieties he wanted to grow from the 50 pound box of seeds donated to Raíces by a dozen organic, non-GMO…

Don Luis and Doña Carmen Soto of Finca Mi Casa with some of the sustainable relief supplies they received thanks to donations from our Central NJ Community and a dozen non-GMO, organic and heirloom seed companies.

Doña Carmen Soto of Finca Mi Casa. Doña Carmen chose from the handmade, organic soaps the Raíces crew was given to bring on our January 2018 Relief Trip by local community member Rivka Greenberg.

Don Luis Soto of Finca Mi Casa showing his outdoor worm composting set up.

Raíces Cultural Center Director Francisco G. Gómez talking with Don Luis Soto of Finca Mi Casa about the damage his farm suffered during Hurricane María.

The greenhouse at Finca Mi Casa in Camuy, Puerto Rico was damaged by Hurricane María. This greenhouse, when functional, is used for water and weed control, to grow crops that are difficult to grow in the fields such as lettuce and tomatoes. The…

Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of agriculture on the island of Puerto Rico, with governmental programs pushing for an increase in agriculture, especially using conventional methods and preparing single crops for export; as well…

Seen from the highway leaving the San Juan area, “Zona Agricola” means agricultural zone. About 80% of agricultural crops were wiped out by Hurricane María in September 2017.

Trash thrown into storm drainage systems that doesn’t get picked up by the workers assigned to clean this mess post-festival will end up washing downstream in the next storm, and ultimately end up in the island’s waterways and the ocean. Coming…

A human-created sustainability problem. The aftermath of some festivals in Puerto Rico mirror that of the US, with debris, litter and pollution created en masse and left behind for municipal workers to deal with. Not all of the litter will be found…

One of the saddest sights seen in Puerto Rico during the Raíces Sustainable Disaster Relief Support Trip in January 2018 was the sea of litter that remained after a festival in San Sebastian. After learning of and seeing first hand that many places…

Destroyed gas station in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico. Debris from the collapsed structures remained four months after the storm had destroyed it. This was a common sight around the island in January 2018.

A gas station in San Sebstian, Puerto Rico which was damaged but not destroyed by Hurricane Maria. It remained closed four months after the storm when this photograph was taken.

Debris from a gas station in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, destroyed by Hurricane María.

Destroyed gas station in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico.

Farmland in San Sebastian that is being used to grow gandules, or pigeon peas, after being cleared following Hurricane María.

Traditional wooden home found in the mountains of Puerto Rico. This house was the birthplace the grandfather of Raíces Cultural Center BOD chair Angela Lugo. The home was relatively undamaged by Hurricane María.

Road closed along the shoreline of Lake Guajataca in San Sebastian due to damage sustained during Hurricane María as well as the ongoing draining of the lake and repair and restoration of the dam.

View of Lake Guajataca in January 2018. Water levels are visibly low as the lake is being drained in order to begin repair work on the dam which was breached during Hurricane María in September 2017.

Close up of the crumbling overspill that diverted water during the dam breach that
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