This is an episode of MOLD’s podcast, Food Future. Listen here.

In this episode of Food Futures, our host, Ludwig Hortado, speaks to Alicia Kennedy about the impact of Hurricane Fiona on Puerto Rico and its ties to climate change, tourism and food systems.

Interview of Alicia Kennedy by Ludwig Hurtado.

Alicia Kennedy is a food writer based in Puerto Rico, who first moved to San Juan in 2019 from New York City. Her experience of Hurricane Fiona was based on living in the capital, San Juan, which she details as a bubble of stability on the island. Even so, her community faced days to weeks of no power or running water, with residual damages to property, public space and homes that already had yet to  recover  from previous storms. The severity of the  hurricane’s impact varied across the island, depending on their location along the archipelago, affluence, and availability of resources. However, the systems on which Puerto Rico’s economy and infrastructure are built undermine the lived experiences of its citizens. 

Alicia delves into the complex relationship tourism has with Puerto Rico, specifically around the fraught imaginary that is formed when visitors view tropical regions as an escape rather than a reality. Tourists coming into Puerto Rico are upset by the lack of abundance in food and drink, unaware of the waste-conscious living islanders have adapted to in a territory that is forced to import 85% of its food. This complex relationship between reality, identity and perception shapes the social and economic landscape of Puerto Rico, as it grapples with the consequences of climate change and resource inequity.

Listen to Kennedy explain this and so much more in this episode of Food Futures.