What were some highlights for DLG in 2014?
Having the chance to have lunch with representatives from all 5 of our partner cooperatives before they attended the national coffee congress in July was a great experience. It was the first time we had all five groups together and we shared some great camaraderie, food, coffee ideas, and of course jokes.
Are there any particular moments in 2014 that stand out?
Hearing the reaction from roasters about our 2014 coffee crop, such as Milano Roasters in Vancouver and Nossa Familia Coffee in Oregon. It was exciting to know that existing roasters really enjoyed the coffee and new customers received it well too. Getting that great feedback gives us momentum to bring on more roasters and customers in 2015 and add another cooperative to our lineup.
Another exciting project was the schools that we worked with this year through our Service Learning Trips. There were a lot of student led projects and it was great to see them learning about coffee and getting engaged.
Finally, we started a new project working with one of our partner cooperatives to get them to participate in the DLG supply chain this coming year, and it has been wonderful to see them through each stage of the learning process. Seeing DLG, the cooperative, and our funding partners come together around a shared goal was a great moment.
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
I’m looking forward to the coming harvest and what it will mean for the three cooperatives we will receive green coffee from. We are expanding our offerings and also hoping to bring on more customers. I’m also looking forward to all of the groups coming for service learning trips (high school and college students), as it’s great to see these groups learning about coffee and opening their minds to new ideas and to new people. In terms of projects, we hope to sharpen the focus around how they benefit and affect us and the cooperatives. We’re looking at new opportunities to support cooperatives in building their own capacity, and to provide the financing necessary for us to get great coffee from our partners. And so we’re also exploring potential strategic partnerships to bolster higher level skills and help our cooperatives become self-run, sustainable organizations.
Do you have any plans for la roya (leaf rust) in 2015?
La roya is still a concern for most coffee farmers in Guatemala. Our roya projects that are in progress are mostly wrapping up this coming year. We’ll be checking up on those projects and distributing the last bit of inputs, but otherwise groups have planted seedlings and treated their crops, and have been trained to handle the problem. With this strong base we expect the cooperatives to be able to step up and take it from there.
What are your New Year's resolutions?
There are always things we could have done better. In this line of work every day is a learning experience. Now that we have gone through the full cycle of the harvest and sale season, we are more in tune to the needs of roasters, customers and cooperatives. In 2015, we want to continue to better our understanding of everyone's needs.