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My name is Ricardo A. Albarracin Morales and I am a Puertorican agronomist working as a contracted inspector with the Envirosurvey, Inc.(coffee farms); having also worked as a contracted inspector with the Agriculture Insurance Corporation of Puerto Rico (coffee, plantain, banana and citrus farms). I have dedicated my current masters thesis to the first green roof experiment allied with the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez using only native plants of my Caribbean island to measure the survival of those plants in roof garden conditions. I helped to start my local Eco Friendly Farmers Market in Rincon, Puerto Rico as a farmer and certifying agronomist. As agronomist we used the Brooklyn based Certified Naturally Grown, as the small organic farmers cannot afford the extreme high cost of a USDA organic certification.
On December 2-6, 2013 the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado will be hosting the option of certifying individuals in the agriculture profession to become inspectors of organic farms through the International Organic Inspectors Association, which is internationally recognized. Puerto Rico, up to this point, has only been able to have farms certified organic through the USDA, which is a costly process and has its loop holes.
I have submitted my proposal for acceptance into this upcoming certification course and have been accepted. Since I am currently working on contract and am writing my thesis for defense in this next year the 50 cost is very high for me and my family. I am obligated to pay with credit card to assure my spot and will move to Utuado for that week. Luckily my local farm brothers are hosting me in their homes as support.
I am proud to be a part of this first step towards a local organic certification for our slowly growing organic agriculture on the island of Puerto Rico. I expect that upon completion of this inspection course I will be offering my services with the organization BORICUA (dedicated to Eco-Organic agriculture).
Please help me with this process as I am hoping that it will become an advance in the near future for our island towards a self sufficiency. Puerto Rico only grows 6% of its food consumed on island, the rest is imported.
*Current projects include GRP (Green Roof Professional Certification) Oct. 23-26 in San Francisco, California. My brother and I are the only Puertorican contacts for greenroofing projects, myself as an agronomist and my brother as a project manager.