Coffee is a global community...
so we should be involved globally. This is easier said that done, but when the opportunity arrises we should all be jumping on it. Recently, I had my friend and fellow coffee professional Pablo on the SproCast podcast to talk specialty coffee, and to promote a cause close to his heart; The Chacra Project.
Pablo is a green coffee sourcer for Global Coffee Trading, and he was recently sent on a sourcing trip to Northern Peru. More specifically he was at the Cooperative Agraria Frontera San Ignacio (COOPFSI). Which has 350 separate smallholder families, a processing facility, and the sought after Rain Forest Alliance, Fair Trade, and Organic certifications.
After walking so many miles to visit all sixteen high-elevation villages that make up the coop, he was blow away by the progressive, open, understanding, and overall amazing hospitality they showed towards him. Sharing time with all of the people from these farms he realized one thing rang true for all of them. They all wanted to produce specialty, micro-lot coffees, but struggled due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, and particularly the rain.
When coffees are picked, they are placed in drying beds. Drying the coffee evenly and naturally is important to developing a specialty grade coffee. Many of these farms had drying beds on ground level, with no protection from the elements. Some of them went as far as to taking up precious space in their homes to protect the beans. So on his last day in Peru, Pablo hosted a party for all of the people he'd met, and made a personal vow to help solve this issue.
What each farm needs is a raised and covered drying bed. These beds cost $300 US, and they will provide not only a better coffee for us, the specialty coffee consumer, but even more importantly a better life for the families who run these farms. Their coffees will garner a higher profit for them, which can hugely impact their quality of life. Currently they have nearly half of the the villages set up with sponsors, but they need more cafes, companies, or just generous people to donate to reach their goal.
For your donation you'll be able to choose the village you're sponsoring, get a photo of the drying bed with some of the people at that farm, some direct notes from them, and even a Skype call if you'd like to connect personally. As a sponsor myself (as part of SproCast) I really think this is a great way to develop a more global impact, and when you share the expense within a group its relatively inexpensive. Click here for more detailed information on how to contribute. Lastly, click play on the podcast below to hear about from Pablo firsthand about his experience sourcing in Peru!