Rodríguez Cruz and Niles co-author paper on Puerto Rican farmer's food security after Hurricane Maria
Switzer Fellows Luis Alexis Rodríguez Cruz and Meredith Niles, and co-author Nora Álvarez-Berríos have published a paper examining Puerto Rican farmers households' food security in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Maria using a social-ecological lens. Read the abstract below and find the full article here.
Abstract: Islands are uniquely vulnerable to extreme weather events and food insecurity, and have additional response challenges due to their limited landmasses and economies, isolation, colonial legacies, and high dependence of food imports. Domestic farmers have a key role in producing food for island communities like Puerto Rico, which can safeguard food security when food importation may be challenging. Nevertheless, in the context of disaster, farmers themselves may be vulnerable to food insecurity and unable to contribute to domestic markets. This paper examines Puerto Rican farmers households' food security in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Maria using a social-ecological lens. Survey data from 405 farmers gathered eight months after Maria, coupled with biophysical data from the hurricane's impacts (winds, rains, and landslides), were analyzed. Overall, 69% of farmers experienced at least one month of food insecurity in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and 38% reported persistent food insecurity (three months or more). A multinomial logistic regression suggests that biophysical impacts, but especially social factors, such as age and constraint access to external sources of support, are linked with persistent food insecurity. This suggests that the biophysical impacts of the hurricane interact with existing infrastructure and social resources to affect farmer vulnerability and the food environment in different ways. Thus, strengthening adaptive capacity in multiple domains can help farmers and vulnerable populations better navigate the disruptions faced during disasters to alleviate food insecurity.
Luis Alexis Rodríguez-Cruz et al 2022. Social-ecological interactions in a disaster context: Puerto Rican farmer households' food security after Hurricane Maria. Environ. Res. Lett. 17 044057. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac6004