Each visit to our farmer partners is an amazing experience. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always both a learning experience and a chance to go deeper into our quest to bring positive change to the world. My recent muddy, buggy, flood and storm delayed trip to Pangoa Coop on the slopes of the Peruvian Amazon was no exception.
(Facebook photo album here!)
Our 13 year-long reforestation project has resulted in huge forest tracts and more income for the farm families of Pangoa. Walking amongst the bird-filled, mixed-story forests towering over the coffee plants on the farms of Avelino, Rodrigo and Sabino, I am so humbled and thrilled to see where the farmers have gone with a little help from their friends. They have started in their nursery, planted and grown over thirty thousand hardwood trees through the program, and we are looking at twenty thousand more in the next two years. Their low-tech, highly productive bokashi composting program has helped farmers resist and overcome the devastation of La Roya (Rust fungus) in recent years. What amazing resilience!
You can join us on a walk-through of this lush, healthy coffee forest on our Javatrekker YouTube Channel!
This week, to celebrate these successes, we're putting our NoCO2 Peruvian, the world's first Carbon Neutral coffee on sale. For every 17 pounds sold, another tree gets planted as part of the reforestation program in Peru. We're hoping to expand this reforestation project to all our coffee countries of origin in the next year or so. Stay tuned for that!
I have also been talking to Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center about including Pangoa in their Bird Friendly certification program. We had several community meetings to explain the program. The farmers are totally into it and they will easily pass with flying colors (just look at the toucans and tanagers!). We are now arranging the inspector visits and have agreed to pay all of the administrative costs so that Pangoa can seamlessly integrate Bird Friendly certification into their portfolio of progress.
Similarly, during meetings with CODEMU, their women’s organization, lots of women shared their success stories as the loan fund we got started ten years ago continues to support these hard working women. On Maura’s farm we saw her cuy (uh, that’s guinea pig to you and me!) operation and had the culturally appropriate Farm to Table experience of eating her profits. The loan fund works hand in hand with a gender equity program that is practical and effective in recognizing gender roles and contributions, and bringing deserved respect to the women of Pangoa.
And we cupped their incredible new crop in their sophisticated new cupping lab, and ate tons of their new chocolate bars (more on that later…).
Wow, am I blessed to have such a fulfilling and damned fun life!