In March we spent three days in a beautiful and welcoming community of la Suiza in order to train a small group of dedicated farmers how to develop their own fetilizers. The project was facilitated by an external partner, Cooperativa Nahualá, and involved chopping onions, blending chili peppers and mixing virgin soil with sweet-scented molasses. The bio-fabrica - a self-sustaining system to develop organic fertilizers, which the training participants will use on their own crop and also sell to generate income for the cooperative - has been established!
Meet La Segunda Generación de Café Entre Volcanes - the second generation of coffee producers from San Miguel Escobar! The youth group was formed at the end of 2017 on the initiative of Café Artesanal San Miguel cooperative members who wanted to support their children who show interest in coffee production. De la Gente will be the first buyer of the La Segunda Generación coffee, and we would like to introduce the group and some of it's members to you.
Of all the many stages in producing a quality cup of coffee, fermentation may be one of the more lesser known processes, but it has a dramatic impact on the finished product. Recently one of our partner cooperatives requested support in building two fermentation tanks, so that quality of their coffee may be more readily controlled and the production process can move more quickly. And that's how Ija'tz got their new tanks, just in time to finish processing the 2018 harvest.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” a proverb says. Guatemala has a long way to go before its hard-working people reach decent living conditions. But there are some who make the positive change happen. Together with some of these amazing souls we offer you unique hand-crafted holiday gift bundles which create economic opportunities for local communities. Meet our partners, order today and let’s go together!
Gildardo Martinez, Senior Financial Advisor with Root Capital, has been working closely with the San Miguel Escobar and Ija’tz Cooperatives since June. Gildardo’s excitement, professionalism, and “chapin” (Guatemalan) demeanor invite participants in warmly. Always energetic and playful, attendance is high and engagement is higher. Since June, Gildardo has worked with each cooperative monthly on a variety of topics.
Financial management. Such a fundamental thing. Every kid knows that no business can stay in the game without good planning, appropriately using and controlling its resources, right? Well, maybe kids believe it and so did I. A part of my growing up, however, was realizing how badly organized even million-dollar companies can be. Probably the fact that the co-ops we work with lack some financial management skills is less astonishing. To change it, we started cooperation with Root Capital - a nonprofit social investment fund offering financial advisory services to small and growing agricultural businesses.
I decided to do a homestay my first week working with De la Gente because it would be a great way to practice Spanish, but what I got out of the experience was so much more than that. Not only was I able to practice Spanish but I became acquainted with the families day to day life, tried new and delicious food, and made a special connection with the family.
‘Two of us, working together, can rise.’ Saying that, Timoteo Minas raised the end of the string he was holding and encouraged his brother Gabriel to do the same. The two of them were at the base of the web we had formed by tossing a ball of string back and forth and around the circle of the DLG Coffee Congress participants. ‘Better though,’ Timo says, ‘if we all work together and rise together,’ and the rest of the group raised the web to the level of the two.
When done right, tourism can be a powerful tool of sustainable development. In the wake of globalization, community tourism is a way to create mutually beneficial relationships for locals and visitors. Through De la Gente's community lead tours and workshops, tourists are able to bridge the gap between coffee farmers, share cultures, and learn about the intricacies behind the global coffee industry.
Coffee shipped in burlap sacks has become almost iconic and while it’s better than using plastic bags or even cotton it still has it’s drawbacks from a sustainability standpoint. This year De la Gente is changing up the bags in which we export our coffee by partnering with the New Denim Project to use sacks made out of 100% recycled jean fabric. Choosing to source our export sacks locally allows us to reduce our environmental impact as well as create more economic opportunity in Guatemala.
Service Learning with De la Gente is so much more than a fun international trip learning about coffee. It's a cultural immersion that both our visitors and our local community partners benefit from. The combination of community service and reflection while being immersed in local coffee producing communities really leaves a lasting impact in the participants while supporting our local partners to create more socially and environmentally conscious citizens of the world.
“As a young girl, I never dreamed that one day I would be a landowner nor a coffee producer" said Lesbia. Today she is one of the largest exporters in the San Miguel Escobar Cooperative and a role model for her children showing that hard work and dedication pays off and women can set big goals and acheive them. Read on to learn her powerful story.