Updated: Sep 4
The second episode of the Community Agriculture Project podcast is an interview with Domenico Celli aka Puentes Naturales. Domenico is based in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico in barrio Tanamá where he operates an agroforestry coffee farm and beneficiado that provides services to support local coffee farmers in any stage of the coffee production pipeline.
The mission statement of his project, known as the Forgotten Forest Puerto Rico project, is as follows:
“We believe that the best way to make small-scale coffee farming sustainable in Puerto Rico is to focus on the highest quality. As part of the United States, we have much higher production costs than almost anywhere else in the world where coffee is grown (Latin America and Africa). However, there is very limited local market able to support these higher prices— the average per capita income on the island is less than half of even the poorest U.S. state. So, that leaves small Puerto Rican producers in a difficult position— having to cut corners in attempts to provide affordable for the local market or take on a relatively large financial risk to invest in producing a better product which then must be marketed and shipped off island.
Our Forgotten Forest project aims to restore Puerto Rico's original coffee variety under shaded agroforestry conditions. We intend this small micro-lot to be a showcase of what Puerto Rican coffee can be at its best, along with the economic and environmental benefits it could support. If successful, the goal is to de-risk the prospect of producing higher quality coffee and expand our impact by duplicating this basic model through the Cordillera Central.“
You can follow Domenico’s work through his instagram pages and through the resources on his link tree: https://linktr.ee/collective_perspective_