It is no secret that our planet isn’t in the best shape. The poles’ protective ice is melting, there’s a hole in the ozone layer, and no one can figure out quickly enough how to replace CO2- producing cars. As more people become aware of the less-than-ideal state of our environment, Earth’s more savvy inhabitants are finding creative ways to reduce their footprint.
After a quick yet full trip to La Suiza, the DLG team and Chet Sadler from the Sanibel Captiva Rotary traveled to the Ija’tz Cooperative in San Lucas Toliman. Carol, DLG’s Tour Manager and I (Director of Development), traveled early that morning to make it to Ija’tz around lunch time. We spent the afternoon picking Arnulfo’s brain about tourism in San Lucas Toliman. Considering San Lucas is on the shores of Lake Atitlan and is such a beautiful community rich in history and tradition, we wanted to learn more about how we can support the cooperative through Community Tourism.
On Thursday, May 2nd, four members of the DLG team (Juan - Executive Director, Timo - Technical Assistance Coordinator, Ceci – Marketing and Sales Coordinator and Elisandro – our best driver and member of the Youth Group from San Miguel Escobar Coop) departed from Antigua at 5:45 am in the DLG's good old pick-up truck to visit La Suiza Cooperative.
Imagine you live in Guatemala and you have just paid off a 12 year mortgage to the government. Now you and your 116 fellow community members are the proud new collective owners of an old coffee plantation where you took up residence after the end of the 36-year civil war. The farm has seen better days, and now the fields are overgrown, the machinery has fallen into disrepair, and the only source of electricity is a small hydro-powered system that requires some tender loving care.
De la Gente is excited to introduce the women of North Fork Roasting Company, as part of our series on Women in Agriculture and Business. North Fork Roasting Company, on Long Island, NY is a coffee shop and roasterie which was founded by two incredible woman and has an all female leadership team. Jess & Jenni the Co-Founders along with Bri the General Manager visited and volunteered with us for the past couple weeks. We are so excited to share their story during our week long celebration of International Women's Day.
The community of La Suiza was formed after the end of the Guatemalan civil war, when a group of displaced people discovered an incredible find nestled into the mountains of the San Marcos department (western Guatemala, not far from the Mexican border). A group of families and individuals came together and, with the support of government financing, purchased an old German coffee plantation called La Suiza and began to construct a new life together.