July 28, 2021

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Naomy Candelaria with her feet firmly on the ground

Since she was little, Naomy Candelaria’s passion was not limited to this land, since her eyes were on astronomy, so she entered the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Río Piedras Campus, to begin her studies in physics.

What he never imagined was that his yearnings were not really high, but under his feet. This is how a volunteer service in the Semillas Garden of the Rio Piedras area, made the roots of the love for agriculture of this young woman from Hatilla germinate.

Initially I was very interested in astronomy. Since I was little I always had big thoughts about life and I thought that this was going to be my career. In my first year of high school at the UPR of Río Piedras, I entered physics, but in my spare time I went to the Huerto Semilla. For me that was a place where I could go to my own availability, it was not a time rooted and I could learn from those people. I grew up in Hatillo, which is full of cow farms, but it is not that I learned from that because that is lost from generation to generation and I did not have that knowledge, “explained the 23-year-old.

From those beginnings of his university life, Naomy accepts that he entered into such a degree of confusion that he even thought about abandoning his studies. Among the doubts of which way to go, it came to his ears that the UPR of Utuado would be, by then, launching a baccalaureate in self-sustainable agricultureSo she applied and while studying an associate degree at the UPR of Mayagüez, she was accepted in Utuado.

“I was confused … (farming) I saw it as a hobby, but I didn’t really have that visualization that this is really a job. In Puerto Rico, especially, we do not value agriculture as it deserves it, ”Candelaria said.

At the UPR of Utuado, Naomy finished his high school with the highest GPA (3.77) in that first class of self-sustaining agriculture, but more importantly, he understood the importance of agriculture to a country.

“One of the things that draws me to agriculture is that I know how much Puerto Rico needs it right now. We import 91% of what we eat and we have seen that through all these circumstances that we are going to continue to suffer such as hurricanes, natural disasters, we cannot depend on the outside. We need to have a resilient system, if not we ourselves will not be able to, “said the master’s student.

It is because of that relevance that Once he graduated from high school, he flew to the University of Minnesota to do a master’s degree in Applied Plant Sciences at the College of Food Agriculture and Nature Resources, where he obtained a diversity scholarship with which he continues to train academically.

“This is my last summer of data collection and after that my goal is to finish by the end of the year and to be presenting thesis by January of next year (2022). Then, quickly, I will return to Puerto Rico because I already have plans running, ”said Candelaria.

Once you graduate, plans to fully enter an agricultural business called TerraNova Urbana, which he has undertaken together with the also Puerto Rican and co-founder, José Ángeles, and with whom they lend themselves to participate in the EnterPrize competition, in order to earn money to help them continue their business plans.

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