Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sobreviviendo a Floreciendo: Insights on Urban Agriculture in San Juan, Puerto Rico from the Women Immersed
by Zepeda, Ana Maria, M.S., University of California, Davis, 2020, 72; 28024493
Abstract (Summary)

It is widely known that the majority of humans throughout the world taking part in urban agriculture are women (FAO, 2013). However, not enough is known about why the majority of the humans taking part in this project are women; What are their experiences, the benefits and challenges they encounter, the significance of the urban farms,what approaches they use for their farming, and how urban agriculture benefits their communities in the face of a diminishing local agricultural production. Moreover, this research focuses on Latina’s because Latina’s are important fixtures of food systems throughout the world.

Through urban agriculture, women in Puerto Rico are creating a resistance to the import-oriented agricultural system their leaders continue to perpetuate and support.

Since the 1960’s Puerto Rico has been a importing a majority of their food, in 2017 it was estimated that the archipelago imported 90-95 percent of their food (Carro-Figueroa 2002; Robles & Sandurani, 2017). As a result, the few urban farms (huertos urbanos) provide some of the only locally produced fresh produce for Puerto Ricans. Dependency theory supports the idea that the colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico maintains the archipelago dependent on importing goods from the United States and the archipelago serves as tax-exemption paradise for American businesses.

In July 2019, I visited Puerto Rico during this time I interviewed nine women who are involved in urban agriculture in different capacities: volunteers, project implementers, managers, and professors.

The overall objective of this research was to understand:

• The role that huertos urbanos play in the lives of women and the communities

The research questions asked in order to uncover this were:

• What are the women’s lived experiences being involved in huertos?

• What are some of the challenges and benefits experienced by women involved in huertos?

• What is the significance of these huertos to the women involved?

• What are women perspectives and experiences with the Puerto Rico food system?

• What is lost or could be lost in the event of natural disaster, in relation to the huerto?

The findings demonstrate that many women really enjoy urban farming and that this activity provides fresh, healthy, and safe produce for their families and communities. Local consumers are eager to buy produce grown in Puerto Rico; however market insecurity and smaller production makes this difficult for urban farmers. Local huertos sell their produce at much lower prices than the grocery stores. Almost all the women farmers experienced a decline in participation of volunteers a few years after the establishment of the huertos and even more after Hurricane Maria. However many women described that the huertos are very important for the community, as a space for food cultivation and production as well as community gathering center. Through urban agriculture, women in Puerto Rico are creating a resistance to the import-oriented agricultural system their leaders continue to perpetuate and support.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Crump, Amanda
Commitee: Cannon, Clare, Zepeda, Susy
School: University of California, Davis
Department: International Agricultural Development
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/5(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Agriculture, Womens studies, Latin American Studies, Nutrition, Business administration, Marketing, Urban planning, Social studies education, Public administration
Keywords: Huertos comunitarios, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, Urban agriculture, Women in agriculture, San Juan, Food systems, Latina women, Colonial relationship, Archipelago
Publication Number: 28024493
ISBN: 9798691212741
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