Al Sol de Hoy distributes 1,500 boxes of local produce in 3 days
Al Sol de Hoy — an agriculture cooperative based in Barranquitas since 2015 — distributed 1,500 boxes of locally harvested products — including plantains that should be replanted in a two-week period to avoid total loss of the crops after the passage of hurricane Fiona —Miliany Berríos, founder of the organization, told News is my Business.
The organization received more than 2,500 requests for the Cajitas Nutritivas that were sold for $30 and were able to distribute them throughout the metro area in three days, in collaboration with gas station chain Total Energies at their Bayamón, Guaynabo, San Juan, Toa Baja and Carolina locations.
“After the hurricane passed, we contacted farmers to see how they were doing in terms of health and then they raised concerns about possible crop losses and products that if harvested could be saved,” said Berríos.
“In a matter of 24 hours, the word spread in an incredible way and in that time, there were more than 1,000 requests from people saying that they would buy a box so that the harvest would not be lost,” said Berríos.
Among the products that were distributed were: plantains from three farmers, white yucca, lemons, peppers, pineapple, eggplants, peppers, quenepas, avocados, and eggs.
“They were distributed last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, since the Barranquitas center did not have the space to receive all the merchandise, and we were able to distribute them through donations of diesel that we did not have for the truck,” said Berrios.
Berrios managed to get 13 farmers to sell their harvest directly through this effort, in addition to processing products in other efforts to take advantage of the ones that were going to be lost.
Approximately 500 pounds of storm-affected produce is being composted for the new crops and 500 pounds were taken to farms for cattle feed, Berríos said.
Al Sol de Hoy has initiatives distributing seasonal harvest products in boxes from Aibonito, Coamo, Orocovis, Corozal, Naranjito and Comerio via subscriptions for a weekly or biweekly service.
“Another initiative we have is through restaurants that support local agriculture and buy local products, we also already have a network of farmers who support the project, seed distributions and others,” said Berríos.
“Our center is in Barranquitas and the so are the farmers with whom the project mainly works, but we have had farmers from other areas who call us and have harvests that coordinate meeting points, but our main focus is the mountain farmers who are more disadvantaged by distance to distribute their crops,” said Berríos.
Another project Al Sol de Hoy has is a grant in collaboration with 15 farmers, the US Department of Agriculture, and the Puerto Rico Agriculture Department related to fruit trees that are scarce in the mountain area in the island, Berríos said.