In 2009 Paul and Sarah bought an 18-acre farm in the interior of the island, in the town of Utuado. Sadhu Govardhan, founder of Govardhan Gardens, mentored them about everything from soil and planting to the important role dairy goats play on an organic farm. Previously Paul and Sarah thought of dairy goats as a source of lactose-free dairy. They learned from Sadhu about how beneficial their manure was to the farm. From there they bought many varieties fruit trees from Sadhu. Raised on apples, pears, grapes, citrus and berries, they bought trees from him that had strange-sounding names like Pulasan, ALPA, Camelot and Jaboticaba that soon could be rolled of their tongues as though they’d been eating them their whole lives.
On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico realized Hurricane Irma two weeks earlier was a dress rehearsal for the real thing. A category 5 with winds up to 165 miles per hour, nothing in Maria’s path was safe from her destruction. Obviously, everyone on the island lost something significant that day but no one more than farmers: for farmers have invested everything they have: money, time, sweat, tears, even blood, into something that is supposed to feed them their rest of their lives.
Paul and Sarah estimated they lost 80 percent of their fruit trees, all of their vegetables, at least half their bamboo, a few structures and pumps for water. Although many people donated to them, they still need a few more items.
Mayani Farms need to rebuild:
1. Greenhouse completely destroyed by Maria
2. Cistern and pumps for rainwater collection and to bring water up from a stream at the bottom of their property
3. A new fence on one side of the goats area that completely blown away by the hurricane
4. Covered area for vegetables
5. Chicken coops
The immediate needed expenses add up to $9,500.