Farm and Social Projects
To visit any farm with us, email email@example.com
We have real and personal relationships with all of the farmers who sell us coffee and whose coffees we sell to you. When we get involved with a particular producer’s coffee, we also begin a close human relationship. We start having real conversations concerning the needs of the business and community, theirs and ours. We believe the people who grow our coffee should be the ones deciding how to spend money to improve their lives. We don’t tell anyone what to do – we ask. We spend a lot of time making sure that we’re being fair, and that involves listening.
Lots of times, these farmers don’t have a huge profit margin, and they just need a little more money to buy something that they’ve needed. Sometimes, the farmers are doing well, and they tell us to take our money and spend it on someone who really needs it. Other times, the projects we work on are more deeply involved with the community and the producers. What we do ranges from mundane and simple to elaborate and intense. It’s always done honestly.
Beyond fair trade. Beyond organic. Beyond shade grown.
The following is a list of the more involved projects we have done.
2012, Ocotal, Nicaragua, Finca Santa Isabel.
We have been purchasing coffee from Jaime Lovo of Ocotal since May of 2012. Jaime’s farm is beautiful, and extremely shady. He treats his workers well. In negotiating to buy more of his coffee for a long time, we wanted to know what more we could do to help the community. We have begun a project, working closely with the exporter, Beneficio Las Segovias, to boost the social opportunities available to workers on the farm. This consists of building a school for children whose parents work on the farm, bringing in daily deliveries of fresh produce so that workers don’t have to go into town and buy meals during work hours, and providing free on-site medical care to employees and their families. We hope it sets a precedent for other coffee farms in the region – if you provide your workers with such excellent resources, you’ll be able to sell your coffee at a fair price for a long time.
2012, Kellensoo, Ethiopia.
After purchasing this coffee for over a year, and visiting several times, we began a project with the exporter, Nardos, and the importer, the Bushwick Seed Company. The village elders had done a needs-assessment on Kellensoo, and decided that we should work on a project that focuses on reducing school dropouts. We went back to help build a library, supply it with books, and provide the girls with feminine hygiene education. This project is still in the works. The library is built and stocked, and reusable pads from Days for Girls are on their way.
2011, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, CECOSEMAC
Don Luis Castellon is a member of the cooperative CECOSEMAC. We had been selling his coffee for several months, but after visiting him, we learned that not all of the coffee we had been selling as Castellon coffee came from the Castellon farm, and that it was more likely a mix of coffees from the cooperative in town. We went to visit CECOSEMAC’s offices, and learned that their office needed some basic supplies, like chairs for sitting around the conference table, and paint for the walls. We gave them the Farmer Dividend ™ to buy what they needed.
2011, Huehetenango, Guatemala. Finca El Injertal – Alejandro Solis
After selling his coffee for several months, we went to visit Alejandro Solis in the mountains of Huehuetenango. Alejandro wasn’t in town, but we walked around the property with the manager, Jorge Funes. The farm was beautiful, already Rainforest certified, and living standards were high.
There was a school for children of employees on the grounds that we went into. The teachers and students were thrilled to see us, and asked if we could help provide them with new school supplies. In late 2012, after selling the coffee some more, we were able to provide Alejandro with the money to buy the students their new supplies.
2011, Payacuca, Nicaragua. Don Luis Bojorge Castellon
We were discussing the benefits of natural-process coffee with the Castellon Family. Natural process is where the fruit dries onto the seed and often leaves the coffee with a sweeter and fruitier flavor. They explained that it took too much time to turn the coffee as often as necessary when they didn’t know if their coffee was all going to sell. It was also expensive to build more drying tables. We were able to provide them with the Farmer Dividend ™ to assist with their purchase and offer to buy all of their coffee so they would know their labor was a good investment.
2010, Amaro Mountains, Ethiopia. Asnakech Thomas.
There were some bad floods in the Amaro Mountains of Southwestern Ethiopia. We were purchasing a lot of coffee from that region produced by Asnakech Thomas. She collected her coffee from several tribal villages in the mountains. One of those villages, Derba Manana, was inaccessible for some time. We were paying very high prices for that coffee. The roaster from whom we bought the coffee was paying very high prices. Asnakech was receiving promises of high prices from the person to whom she was selling the coffee. Based on these promises, she took loans and bought a vehicle that would be able to reach the village of Derba Manana. A farmer needed medicine. Asnakech wanted to get the medicine to the farmer. Because the promise of money didn’t actually buy gas or medicine, Asnakech needed a little help. Our first Farmer Dividend ™ payment was able to provide the modest but important gas and medicine needed.