Ivette Perfecto is the George W. Pack Professor of Ecology, Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on biodiversity and arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in rural and urban agriculture. She also works on spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem and am interested more broadly on the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty.
Benjamin Morse is a Design Manager in the Office of Academic Innovation and was part of the University of Michigan team that went to Puerto Rico in late June.
In this conversation Ivette talks about a USDA research project related to coffee farming in Puerto Rico, and how this project was impacted by Hurricane Maria. She also talks about the long road to recovery that many farmers in Puerto Rico face today, especially as pressure from large international corporations looking to invest in cheap farmland is growing. Ivette ends the conversation by talking about a new initiative with Casa Pueblo, an organization working with communities to strengthen the natural, cultural and human resources of the island.