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.
Valeriana, 24, mother of two (soon to be three) began her work in coffee the same way as many women do: processing beans that are grown and harvested by other farmers. Her first year she only exported a few hundred pounds, but this year her goal is 3,000 pounds. Read on to learn how an investment from De la Gente's Women's Fund is helping her to reach her goal.
Being a woman in these rural areas of Central America can be challenging, but the strong women of Guatemala have always risen to the challenge. Learn about how one of our partner cooperatives is supporting women. Support this group when you order a bag of 100% women grown, harvested, and processed coffee. Makes a great gift for the strong women in your life!
I didn’t know anything about processing coffee when I first joined, but other members taught me everything I know. Now I have three cuerdas of land for growing coffee. I want to buy two more but am waiting for the right plots of land to become available for purchase. We have big goals when it comes to coffee. We want to grow our production every year, this is why I am buying more land. It is a huge benefit for my wife, for both of us, to work together at home and raise our growing family.