Deeper and deeper we go!
Looking back over 2013, I can't believe how deeply we went into our work in the coffeelands. Between me, Michael, Vic, Heather and a slew of great interns, we made well over a dozen farmer visits, spoke at another dozen universities and schools, gave workshops in Indonesia, Tunisia, Italy and beyond, and explored bringing fair trade to the birthplace of globalization-the Spice Islands. We had great successes in helping create a farmer-based certification system, getting farmers to their first-ever exports, funding organic trainings and self-esteem building, and inaugurating our new socialXchange program. We had some bummers, too, especially in trying to create a new relationship in El Salvador, but all of us learned a lot through that experience. We found long lost coffees in Nicaragua and Indonesia. We received enormous international recognition this year for our coffees and for our innovative development programs. What a year! Read on for more details...
New Relationships, coffees and explorations...
- We purchased the first-ever export from a farming community in Achuapa, Nicaragua. The coffee arrived in Massachusetts with the names of the individual farmers printed on the sacks. The farmers are really proud!
- Our other new relationship in Nicaragua is with the SOPPEXCCA Cooperative. We sent Rosalia Roché Navichoc, from Guatemala, to lead women's empowerment workshops there.
- We also sent an intern, Nora Burkey, from the SIT Graduate School, to work on women's development projects in Achuapa and SOPPEXCCA.
- Haitian coffee was new this year. It is a smooth velvet roast and supports a great program with farmers there.
- Dean made a second exploration to the Spice Islands in Indonesia to investigate bringing the first-ever fair trade spices to the U.S.
Continuing and Deepening Relationships...
- We deepened our relationship with the Oro Verde Cooperative in Peru in multiple ways this year. First, we sent our first-ever socialXchange for a week long exchange to the Coop. This served to give our customers a deep understanding of where their coffee comes from, and to help Oro Verde develop a tourism business.
- We also sold Oro Verde our used 70 Kilo coffee roaster. Our roast master, Vic, and Michael then traveled to Peru to help set it up (this was Vic's first trip to the coffeelands). The Coop is hoping to expand their roasted coffee business.
- The Oro Verde Coffee is our first to be certified by the Small Producers Symbol, a fair trade certification created and managed by a farmer's organization. We are one of the first companies in the U.S. to use this certification.
- In Mexico, we have completed the first phase of a project to improve and incentivize the Organic program in at Proisch. We funded extension agents to help train farmers on Organic farming methods. now, one of those agents will be hired for next year to start a 'Bocashi' composting program.
- Also in Peru, at the Pangoa Cooperative, we have continued our multi year internship program by sending Emma for a 4-month stay. She was very active, starting a recycling and reforestation program, and hosting bi-monthly environmentally focused movie nights.
And we learned some lessons, too...
- We worked hard to build a successful partnership with a small Cooperative in El Salvador called La Concordia but, after two trips and months of back-and-forth, it has been put on hold. The farmers have made the decision to forgo Organic certification and we respect their decision.
- In Guatemala, our women's health program is also on hold due to organizational difficulties. We are working hard to get the program back on track this year.
And here at home...
- We've also had an active and rewarding year here at home. We launched our recyclable single-serve 'ReCups', providing an alternative to the landfill clogging K-Cups.
- Our mobile coffee shop, the Javatrekker Express, got its debut this summer at music festivals including Farm Aid, farmer's markets and fundraising events.
- We received some prestigious awards: the Oslo Business for Peace award, also called the 'Nobel Prize for Business' and the UN Women's Leadership Award for Community Engagement.
- We welcomed the newest member of our team, John Gorski III, born September 24th,
- AND we celebrated our 20th year of raising the bar in activism, advocacy and environmental stewardship!
Thanks for another amazing year!