Farmers organization promotes eco-organic farming

By Rafael R. Díaz Torres
Of the Daily Sun staff
The taste of eco-organic agriculture will be featured at the “First Agro-Ecological Cocktail” in San Juan May 3.
Sponsored by the organic agriculture network “Boricuá,” the event will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at the Olympic House in Puerta de Tierra, with the participation of farmers from different parts of the island, vegetarian chefs, experts in organic gastronomy, and educators who act as advisers to individuals and families who farm.
“This is the first time that sponsors, ecological farmers, chefs, organic food restaurants, eco-friendly stores, nonprofit organizations, and consumers join efforts in Puerto Rico to formally present what has been done by the agro-ecologic movement in the last 20 years with regards to the conservation of our native seeds, and support the principle of Agricultural Sustainability, said “Boricuá” president Yanna Muriel during a press conference Thursday at the Chiwinha organic store, in Río Piedras. 
Boricuá was founded 1989 after a group of farmers from the island’s central mountain region met to exchange ideas and establish an island wide network that would integrate farmers, educators, and consumers.
Today the organization is represented throughout Puerto Rico. Its members describe the network as based on a horizontal model that fosters a constant dialogue, through which farmers and supporters share knowledge and promote strategies geared towards becoming self-sustained in food production.
“Boricuá came about in response to the need for networks between farmers and consumers, and to reach urban areas where there are more consumers,” Boricuá members Katia Raquel Avilés told the Daily Sun.
“The best part is that it was the farmers who founded these networks, as a means of finding markets for their products, and Boricuá is inclusive, allowing participation by everyone who is interested in finding ways to reach food sustainability for the island,” Avilés added.
In addition to the educational and production-related dimensions of Boricuá, organization members have also been lobbying to influence the Legislature in developing public policy relevant to the promotion of agriculture and organically grown products.
Boricuá contributed to the development of Law 228 of 2003, which provides incentives for the production and consumption of organic products in Puerto Rico.  
Tickets for the May 3 Cocktail are $50 each. Event organizers said the proceeds will be used to foster an increase in local farming, benefit farmers, and strengthen existing farmers networks.
“The event represents a unique opportunity for farmers to display their crops and products in the metropolitan area, and for consumers to taste fresh organic food,” Muriel said.
For more information about the organization and the First Agro-Ecological Cocktail, access the Boricuá website: