Community ties are strong in Puerto Rico. This is a place that is built around people getting together and working together. While poverty and food insecurity were always problems in Puerto Rico, which imports over 80% of its food, the extensive damage inflicted on the island from Hurricane Maria accelerated and intensified this issue. While 1.4 million Puerto Ricans were food insecure before the hurricane, Maria left the majority of households in this condition.
Then the Covid-19 Pandemic hit. In 2020, while enduring one of America´s strictest lockdowns, one food bank reported handing out almost two million meals, doubling from last year. Food prices on the island are high, especially for fresh food.
Reducing food insecurity by helping neighbors turn backyards into income-producing urban gardens is just one way AtmaGo has been a critical community tool in Puerto Rico this past year.
Thanks to support from generous partners like Vodafone and Love, Tito’s, we’ve been able to train 166 Puerto Rican residents in citizen journalism and reach 148,301 local users with information and resources to empower their communities.