Posted by Cecilia Díaz
Lately, we have been caught up in so many different activities and we have not been able to communicate some very special and exciting news! Five years ago in April, De la Gente was born in a small office in the town of San Miguel, located a few minutes away from the city of Antigua. Before De la Gente, the organization’s name was, As Green as it Gets, which was created in 2005 by a man named Franklin Voorhes, who met 7 small scale coffee farmers from San Miguel looking for a way to organize themselves to turn coffee into a sustainable livelihood.
Little by little the organization grew and they worked collaboratively for a number of years to improve the quality of farmer’s coffee through better processing techniques and improvement to farmers and cooperative infrastructure. In 2014, we embarked on our next phase, which involved reorganizing, refocusing, and rebranding the organization. We created De la Gente that means “from the people,” a name that encapsulates our values and what we do.
It is incredible that this April we will celebrate our 5th Anniversary at De la Gente. After years of meeting and connecting with people throughout the world, sharing stories as well as great coffee, hitting the milestone of 5 years is a major reason for celebration and rejoice. Many changes have happened, the team is not the same as the one that started this adventure but we know that the people that have been part of this team throughout the years, and everyone that has been following us after learning about our mission, volunteering, buying coffee, etc; have shared great memories.
It has been five years of hard work alongside farmers who dedicate their lives to coffee cultivation. It's been a rewarding journey to meet farmers and share our love of high-quality coffee, honoring the tradition passed down from their parents and grandparents. That is why De la Gente started this journey, to give better recognition to hard-working farmers and do what we can to make the coffee industry more equitable and inclusive.
We are excited to continue working with small-holder coffee farmers and cooperatives around Guatemala, we know for sure that there will be challenges ahead but we also know that with hard work we will continue to create economic opportunity for coffee-producing communities. In the future, we hope to expand and reach more communities and cooperatives to bring opportunity and growth to others in need. Everyone deserves a dignified income and live prosperous lives.
We are proud to see how much our first partner coop has grown, this growth did not happen overnight; it took time and dedication from the farmers and we encourage them to keep learning, improving and of course, to pass on the knowledge to the next generations. This is the effect we want to create and we are convinced that many other coops and communities are eager to grow and develop as the first 7 farmers from San Miguel did.
Today, De la Gente works with 5 cooperatives representing about 300 farmers and delivers almost $500,000 in improved income to farming communities. We have been recognized for the coffee and the quality of the experiences we offer including our service learning trips which are tailor-made cultural exchange itineraries that aim to create meaningful interaction between volunteers and farmers and their families in order to have the chance to build relationships that will last a lifetime.
If you want to take part in our special celebration, we have created a special anniversary blend you can order on our online shop. Let's cheers to amazing coffee, amazing people and many more years to come!