January 15, 2018-Camuy & Isabela
On our third day on the island, we set out to spend the morning with Don Luis Soto of Finca Mi Casa. We had visited him to learn about and document his work in 2016, and were eager to see him and his farm, and ask what we could do to lend a helping hand while we were there. Don Luis is a seed saving and organic farming legend on the island. In fact, we at Raíces call him Puerto Rico's Seed Guru. After a quick tour of his farm to show us what had changed since the last time we had been with him and what effects the storm had on the farm, we took some time to have him choose which seed varieties he wanted.
We were so happy to see his face light up as he recognized the names of good seed companies. We learned from sorting through the box with him that his favorite seed company is Baker Creek and his favorite plant is any kind of cosmos flower. After he chose his seeds, we got to work planting some of the beans he had chosen. Within days of returning home, we were already receiving photos from our new friend, Sefra Alexandra, The Seed Huntress, who was on a visit with Don Luis, of the beans already sprouting and growing
After we left Don Luis, we headed to Jobos Beach in Isabela to meet our friend Kari, who we had first met in 2013 when she was working at Plenitud Eco-Iniciativas. We spent hours talking about life on the island, before and after María, and new possibilities for sustainable, regenerative and just recovery. Kari has a home garden in Aguada, on the west coast of the island, and is friends with many other gardeners and growers who run agroecology projects in the area. Before we left, with an agreement to meet again soon, Kari chose some seeds for her garden as well as some seed packets to share with friends, family and neighbors.