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Posted by Julia Baumgartner at about 4pm on Monday January 3, 2011
Now Announcing Just Coffee’s first ever delegation to Usulutan, El Salvador!
Join us March 13-20, 2011 on an important delegation as we begin a new relationship with two different cooperatives in the eastern part of El Salvador.
(Cost includes all in country transportation, two meals a day, lodging, a donation for the communities we visit, translation and interpretation services, and other activities. Price does not include airfare)
* Please inquire about scholarship opportunities, discounted group rates, or other options
Posted by Julia Baumgartner at about 4pm on Thursday December 2, 2010
The trees grew denser as our white pick up truck cruised around the Laguna de Catemaco in the southern part of Veracruz, Mexico. We rolled past gardens of orange trees and a coral of horses before arriving at Cooperativa Cerro de Cintepec. The coffee was brewed, the cookies were waiting for us, and a crew of cowboy hat-doning men greeted us at the cooperative's headquarters. Each of these producers here were delegates, representing their home communities which make up the 351 member cooperative. Cintepec Hill is located in the Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz, a neotropical rainforest similar to that found in the Amazon. I was here for a USAID Farmer to Farmer exchange with Redcafes, a network of 1600 small scale sustainable coffee producers organized in 14 cooperatives throughout Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Chiapas. After visiting Redcafe's new cafe Mezcla de Aromas in Ciudad Serdan (an absolutely charming small town near the base of 5611 meter Pico de Orizaba), Redcafe staff members, Dan Bailey from Amavida Coffee and myself cruised south to meet the farmers and check out the plants that produce our Mexican Decaf coffee. I knew it was our first visit here, but I wasn't aware that this was also the first time these producers had met the people that were buying their coffee and had heard about what fair trade really means and where their coffee ends up.
Posted by Julia Baumgartner at about 3pm on Wednesday September 29, 2010
Hurricane Matthew stormed through Central America this week, causing heavy damage throughout several communities as rivers grew, mudslides fell, and many communities were evacuated. We recently heard from our friends in Nicaragua, who were frantic to provide aid to many of the women organized under La FEM. As heavy rains dumped throughout the northern highlands, the saturated land began to fall, stirring up landslides and mudslides throughout the country. One community, los Colorados, where many of our producer friends live and work, had to be immediately evacuated. Each of the members of this cooperative lost their homes and all of their belongings. They were evacuated to a nearby community where they are now living in tents. Roads and bridges are out to other communities as well, isolating these highland communities from access to aid, food, and other resources. Pick up trucks cannot get in and families cannot get out. La FEM is working hard to figure out how to transport them out of the communities (rounding up horses is one alternative) as well as to bring food in since the local pulperias are running out of their food supply. The city of Esteli was also isolated as bridges on the Panamerican Highway collapsed because of heavy flows of water.
Posted by Julia Baumgartner at about 2pm on Saturday August 7, 2010
For a while I thought there as no better way of getting to a coffee farm than riding in the back of an old pick up truck, cheeks blowing in the wind and taking in all the views….until I tried a motorcycle. After three days of being cooped up in a cute little hostel in the charming town of Alegria, El Salvador thanks to some friends (read: Amoebas) that found their way into my intestinal tract, I caught my breath again after an intense two weeks on the road. Sebastian strolled up in his sporty ride, his light green eyes twinkled as he greeted me with a “buenos dias, Julita. Lista?” Si hombre! I replied. Sebastian is known by many as the pioneer of organic agriculture in the area, serving as an agriculture technician to many small coffee farmers around the eastern part of the country. Ten years ago when he began introducing the idea of organics, many thought he was crazy. Now his expert advice is priceless. Today his shirt read “Organic Agriculture. The future is in our hands.”