It’s no surprise that 2021 was an especially tough year for coffee farmers. Not only has COVID-19 threatened the health of farming families, but pandemic-fueled logistical issues have troubled small-holder coffee economies even more than usual. Needless to say, Dean’s Beans’ commitment to our People-Centered Development Program, where we co-design with the farmers and then fund grassroots projects based on the farmers’ priorities, was more important than ever last year. In 2021 we funded $74,900 of development projects in the coffee communities from which we sourced our beans and maintained direct relationships for years. Even more importantly, we continued to show up when others ran away. Here’s the breakdown:
Colombia – We gave Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca (CoSurCa) $7,400 for a program focused on strengthening community nutrition and COVID-19 prevention. With both our and CoSurCa’s contributions, the 15 organizations (farmer associations, schools, etc.) that encompassed 410 people received a total of 86 community garden plots (with crops such as corn and peanuts). CoSurCa also offered technical agricultural training for women and young farmers on 1,500 farms, and gave COVID-19 safety training along with PPE and educational materials to farming communities. Learn more on our Instagram!
Ethiopia – We have worked with the Sidama Co-op and Grounds for Health since 2012 on community based cervical cancer prevention and treatment. We sent them $10,000 last year for a total of $148,483 since the beginning of our partnership. To date, our contribution has helped serve 32 districts, in which 62,940 women have been screened and 5,562 treated for cervical cancer. Learn more about this program’s beginnings on YouTube and our blog!
Guatemala - We have given $1,000 annually to Coffee Trust for their roya (coffee leaf rust) mitigation, reforestation and alternative income program. As of 2021, our contribution totals $8,000.
Honduras – We have worked with our newest partner Café Orgánico Marcala Anónima (COMSA) and Grow Ahead for two years in a project that promotes gender equity and reforestation simultaneously. In 2021, we sent them $2,000, for a total of $5,000 since the project’s inception. We are excited about working together on a new program, the COMSA International School (CIS). Late last year we sent $5,000 for general support of the school, with a focus on identifying areas of improvement so that CIS can fulfill their mission to become a top tier international school.
India – We recently began working with Wayanad Social Service Society (WSSS) to support their farmer coops. In 2021, we sent $5,000 for a reforestation project that included planting coffee seedlings, as well as $5,000 for COVID-19 relief. WSSS distributed 50,000 coffee seedlings to 500 farmers, and installed a ventilator at St Joseph Mission Hospital, Mananthavady in July. To date, 18 patients have received life-saving ventilation care free of charge. We also supported Fair Trade Alliance Kerala with $2,000 for administrative support as the organization grows.
Mexico - We gave $8,400 to Productores Indígenas Serranos de Café de Motozintla for the continued education and expansion of both bokashi organic composting techniques and combating la roya. We also sent $2,000 to the Sexto Sol Center for their ongoing reforestation mission.
Nicaragua – We sent Promotora de Desarrollo Cooperativo de Las Segovias (PRODECOOP) $10,000 for COVID-19 aid including medicine, oxygen, transportation, hospital stays and burials for farmer families. Our important traveling library literacy project was put on hold for the year to keep the distant villages safe from COVID-19, but we hope it will be up and running again once it's safe!
Papua New Guinea – We sent $1,000 to Bismarck Ramu Group, a progressive community development group, for general funds to help them through the pandemic.
Peru – We supported La Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Pangoa (Pangoa), our longest standing co-op partner, with $10,000 to continue their Bird Friendly® coffee projects in partnership with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Pangoa is expanding the number of farmers moving towards Bird Friendly® certification by sharing best practices with other co-ops. Learn more about Pangoa here.
Sumatra – We sent $3,000 to the Leuser International Foundation to continue our ecosystem restoration and Bird Friendly project – the first in Asia! Since 2019, we have been working with Leuser, the KGLA co-op and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to do bird surveys to help KGLA obtain Bird Friendly® certification. That brings us to $19,800 to date! See the bird survey in action on YouTube and read more about it here.
Timor – We have worked with Cooperative Café Timor to support education since 2012. In 2021, we sent $5,090 for their computer education program, bringing our funding to a total of $12,590 since we first began the project. This money went to Atsabe High School, providing desks, uniforms, supplies, computers and computer education. Three more computers were bought last year. Read more about the progress of the program here and here!
We know these have been hard times for everyone, but frankly, the small coffee farmers around the world fell off much of the industry’s radar, leaving farmers with less resources than ever. But that’s not how we roast (haha, get it?!), so our development work both at home and in the coffee villages remained our top priority – along with providing you with great coffee. To us, the two always go hand in hand.