Kids running around and playing, adults enjoying Puerto Rican food, the smell of fresh popcorn and the excitement of the crowd while they enjoy themselves was the reality of Mayagüez during the celebration of the Annual Fair ” Five Days with Our Land”. The annual event took place during the days of March 12 through 16 in the facilities near the Rafael Mangual Coliseum at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM). This year, like past years, it was organized by a Coordinating Committee composed of students and professors from the Agricultural Sciences Faculty at the UPRM.
One of the fair’s several tents. Visitors learn about new agricultural technology.
The uniqueness of “Cinco Días con Nuestra Tierra” is the variety of activities and exhibitions that the fair offers to people from all ages. One of its main objectives is to educate the community about a whole variety of topics related to agricultural development and techniques. For this reason, the Coordinating Committee scheduled educational activities and workshops adapted to different age levels. This year, the main topics were food safety, gardening and innovation in agricultural techniques.
Puerto Rico is a country with a large and broad tradition of agriculture and cattle. In the last decades, the practice of these activities decreased and the dependence on food importation and the products of first necessity increased. Recovering autonomy in the production and distribution of primary ware is an important subject for the development of this country and an evident goal for a new generation of agricultural professionals.
“This is a great and safe place to bring your family and have some fun,” said a father of three kids that were visiting the “Industrias Pecuarias” tent. It was a fascinating place for kids because of the variety of animals that they had. Inside the tent, was an area designated for kids and adults to learn about the different types of cattle common in rural areas in Puerto Rico. Also, they have introduced species of cattle and livestock. Judging by the expressions of the visitors, the most impressive animal was a huge Senapol Bull that was borrowed for the exhibition from a local farm located in the north area of Puerto Rico. Kids were especially thrilled by its size and impressive horns.
Another important part of the fair is the gardening tent. Popular between the adult visitors, the gardening area is a space for education and local entrepreneurship. The experts in gardening talked with the visitors about a safe environment for innovation and ideas. While learning and exchanging tips with the visitors, local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to promote their business. There was a great variety of local product for purchase including: medicinal plants, all types of flower plants, fruits, artisanal cheese, milk, homemade bread and fruit preserves among others.
“Cinco Días con Nuestra Tierra” also provides the community an opportunity for cultural celebration. This year, the fair hosted dozens of kiosks where visitors were able
to purchase artisan handcrafts. By doing so, they were supporting Puerto Rico local artists and artisans.Also, the food kiosks were aAn hydroponic system. Some of the new technologies in agriculture were showed by some student organizations.good option for those who spend a few hours wandering around the fair. Restaurants like “El Platanal” were selling their now famous pl
antain baskets. “I have never tasted plantain like this, it’s delicious! I´m definitely going to visit their restaurant” said Enid Quintana, a UPRM student, while waiting in line. Their restaurant is located in Moca, Puerto Rico.Student organizations also played a key role in this event. The Student Organization for the Mechanization of Agriculture was founded 16 years ago by a group of students who were concerned about Puerto Rico’s agricultural development. The program is supported by the “Extension Agricola” office at UPRM. The main objective of the student participation at ¨ 5 Días con Nuestra Tierra¨ is advocate for more mechanized and efficient techniques to practice agriculture. Alberto, Public Relations Specialist for the organization mentioned that “visiting this type of event is an incredible opportunity to show different agricultural machinery and techniques to the community.” Also, this student organization advocates for promoting the importance of Puerto Rican agriculture. As future professionals, they are worried about the current food situation.
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