Achieving Food Sovereignty in Puerto Rico

By: Dariana Mattei Ramos  

Puerto Rico imports 85 percent of its food supply. Food production has dramatically declined, for example, in 1992 Puerto Rico had 22,350 farms, while in 2012 had 13,159 farms. Land in farms has also decreased from 826,893 acres in 1992 to 584,985 in 2012. Puerto Rico as a colony of the United States is subject to federal laws like the Jones Act which make imported goods more expensive creating a problem of access to nutritious food specifically in low income communities. This Article’s main objective is to propose that Puerto Rico’s Food Security Plan should be amended to incorporate viable sustainable agriculture models to achieve food sovereignty. This Article will evaluate the current National Food Security Plan of Puerto Rico and compare it with the actual needs of the islands. It will also analyze the right to food and food sovereignty movements in the international setting. The Article will analyze food policies from Brasil, Cuba and Honduras to find the best viable solution for Puerto Rico to gain food sovereignty. This Article will conclude by comparing the agroecological practices in Puerto Rico with others in Latin America not only as a food movement but also as a social movement.

"Agroecology", " Food sovereignty", " Puerto Rico", " Caribbean", " Brasil", " Jones Act"
Food Policies, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dariana Mattei Ramos

I have a BA with a concentration in Geography from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. My research, while in college, focused on food waste in the cruise ship industry and the paradox between hunger and obesity in the Caribbean. I then gained a masters degree at Vermont Law School in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy. While in graduate school I focused my research on the political relation between Puerto Rico and the United States and its implications in the Puerto Rican food system. I have focused on how to achieve food sovereignty in Puerto Rico through agroecology. I worked with Sustainable Nantucket, a non-profit organization that works towards improving the local food system. I am currently working to help regrow the agriculture production on Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria.