Juan Francisco Catalá is a third generation small nursery coffee grower in the mountains of Yauco. In addition to his work at the farm, he has dedicated his efforts to teach farming to children through summer camps at the family’s farm, Hacienda La Leonor. He is also an activist who is fighting for the rights of nursery coffee growers, who have limited protections in comparison to regular coffee growers.
In this interview, Catalá speaks about how his nursery of over 150,000 coffee plants in his family’s farm, La Leonor, was destroyed by Hurricane María. Catalá also speaks about the lack of governmental support for farmers in Puerto Rico both before and after María. He insists on the need to educate people, especially children, to grow their own food given Puerto Rico’s extreme vulnerability due to its dependency on imported products.