Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy Coffee-Community Outreach is currently traveling in Guatemala. Rick works and travels around the globe, visiting coffee farms where have outreach programs. Rick's work specifically addresses poverty and hunger in the coffee-growing regions where we source our coffee.
Here is an update from the ground in Guatemala:
San Miguel Pochutla is separated by one volcano from the communities along Guatemala's picturesque Lake Atitlan. Nestled in the mountains above Pochutla is a small hamlet known as Candelaria, that is home to ASOCAMPO, a Fair Trade cooperative that produces high quality coffee for GMCR.
The co-op was founded in 2002, on what was a large coffee estate known as Finca La Florida. The owner abandoned the farm following the coffee price crisis in 2001. Many of the farm's workers purchased the farm with the help of the Guatemalan government. Today over 100 families produce just over one container of coffee. This is double their production from last year, and the co-op is planning on serious growth, hoping to produce 5 containers within the coming years.
The photo shows a coffee plant nursery that currently is home to 40,000 young coffee plants that will be used to renovate and expand current coffee parcels. In the coming months this nursery will be expanded to support 100,000 young plants.
Thanks to the support GMCR is providing through Catholic Relief Services, the farmers and their families are now diversifying the use of their land, and in addition to growing coffee are growing food to eat and to sell, as an additional source of income.
The co-op has recently built a green bean packing plant, with the assistance of the Guatemalan government. Green beans grown by the farmers will be sorted and packed by 37 employees (new jobs!) in the community starting before Easter this year. The project is being facilitated by Cuatro Pinos, supplier of French green beans to COSTCO.
ASOCAMPO is developing rapidly, yet is on a path that is supporting sustainable livelihoods for its family members.
Try some of our coffee that might contain ASOCAMPO's beans.