Introducing El Futuro

Posted by admin in Our Community

It’s been part of our DNA since our humble beginnings around 20 years ago; deal as direct as possible with the farmers at origin to ensure they are receiving the best price for their coffees.

And while it’s part of our history, we thought it was time to look closer at what we have always done vs how we could be doing it better. How can we better marry together our traceability efforts with our sustainability efforts?

You see, the spotlight has been firmly placed on our beloved coffee industry in terms of sustainability. We actually threw the spotlight on this concept with our recent Knowledge Talks series with Kim Elena Ionescu, Chief Sustainability Officer of the SCA.

Rather than just thinking of sustainability as a transactional endeavour, Kim pushed our notions of sustainability by defining it as a pursuit of sustainable development;

‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

So, while historically we have always pushed to deal direct as possible with the farmers at origin to ensure they are receiving the best price for their coffees, it’s now time for us to look at what we can do better to help not just the farmers, but the projects which matter to their communities. The projects which will enable future generations to thrive.

As our first step towards evolving our sustainability efforts, we’ve collaborated with farms and cooperatives from some of the world’s leading and emerging coffee growing communities to create the El Futuro Blend.

El Futuro is a culmination of farmers who are not only paving the way for more advanced farming and processing methods in the pursuit of excellence in coffee, but are also invested in making their respective wider communities a place where future generations can grow.

For our first El Futuro Blend, we’ve collaborated with:

  • Santa Felisa, Guatemala
  • Mzuzu, Malawi
  • Coopedota, Costa Rica

How we’re collaborating with the farmers to support sustainable development:

Staying true to our roots, we are continuing to work with these farmers directly to ensure they are receiving the best price for their coffees, and we will be donating funds back to each farm directly to support the ongoing growth of their respective community projects.

But this investment is only step one. As we progress, we will be seeking opportunities to partner even more closely with these farmers, cooperatives and projects to dedicate our knowledge, time and people to aid the ongoing development of the projects.

We’re not perfect, and we know that this is a small step towards achieving a sustainable, traceable future for our coffee growing regions. But for us, El Futuro is about wearing our hearts on our sleeves and committing in a bigger, more relevant way to the coffee growing regions we love and want to continue to collaborate with for years to come.

As each of the respective projects progress, we will be capturing all of the updates on our blog and will compile an annual report to share with you the key learnings and results from each initiative.

Las Nubes Daycare Centre, Guatemala

Our financial contribution will enable the Centre to continue to provide food, education and medical services for its growing student population as well as their parents.

We’ve had the privilege of working with the team at Santa Felisa by purchasing its well renowned coffee, and over the last three years we’ve evolved our partnership to include the support of its Las Nubes Daycare Centre.

The Centre provides support for over 40 of the most vulnerable children in this coffee growing region. These children are from families that live on less than $1 per person, per day and only have access to seasonal work in agriculture which doesn’t provide enough income for the entire year. The majority of the children who attend the Centre only eat one or maybe two meals a day, which consists largely of rice, beans and vegetables.

On a daily basis, the Centre provides nutritious meals, medical supervision and education to 31 girls and 19 boys. It allows mothers to continue working by providing a safe place for their children to learn, play and finish their homework. In Acatenango, only 37% of children go on to complete their first years of secondary school. Basically, when a child in this region reaches eight years old, they are regularly expected to help their families earn a living from coffee rather than continuing with their schooling.

The Centre also provides support to the parents through talks and public workshops on topics such as health, nutrition and the environment.

In partnering with the Las Nubes Daycare Centre, it’s our aim to support its mission in creating a better future for these children and their families. By helping the region’s most vulnerable children with their school work, incorporating activities that increase self-esteem for both the children and parents and creating an environment where education is embedded in the community, the centre helps create opportunities for the children to improve their future prospects.

Misuku Hospital, Mzuzu, Malawi

With over 8,000 people depending on the Misuku Hospital, our financial support will enable the hospital to purchase much needed medical equipment (including hospital beds).

In addition to purchasing coffee from the Misuku Coffee Growers Cooperative Society, we are also partnering with the cooperative to support the Misuku Hospital project.

Initially built to support just the coffee farmers of the Misuku Community, the hospital now services the entire community; a population of 8,000 people.

The creation of the hospital was born out of the need to provide medical care to the community who otherwise would have to travel over 45km of hilly and difficult terrain to reach the nearest district hospital for treatment.

Being faced with geographical restrictions and growing health care issues, the farmers of the Misuku Coffee Growers Cooperative Society banned together along with community members to set up the hospital. As well as establishing the hospital, a pre-paid health insurance scheme was implemented to allow for the ongoing development and running of the hospital.

The hospital first opened in October 2015 and consists of one theatre and general wards, as well as an outpatient’s department. At this time, the hospital can see a maximum of 10 patients and is currently in the process of recruiting nurses, hospital administrators and support staff to assist the hospital’s clinical officer.

The biggest barrier facing the continued operation and development of the hospital is a lack of funding. Relying heavily on the pre-paid health insurance scheme is placing the farmers of the Cooperative under pressure as they earn less than USD500 annually to cater for all household needs, which leaves little to spare for hospital pre-payments. This has left the Cooperative looking for ways to increase their coffee production to allow its farmers to earn more income, so they can not only provide for their families, but also maintain access to the Misuku Hospital facilities.

In an effort to support this initiative, we will be continuing to partner with the Cooperative to purchase its coffee, and will also provide financial assistance to aid the ongoing running and development of the hospital including the purchasing of much need medical equipment and hospital beds.

Coopedota, Costa Rica

Our financial contribution will enable the Cooperative to supply its community of 800 farmers with much needed seed supplies to grow and harvest their own sustainable food to feed their families.

What initially drew us to purchasing coffee from Coopedota Cooperative, was not only its excellent coffee, but its dedication to achieving a carbon neutral footprint in the growing, harvesting and processing of its coffees. Which as you can imagine, is no small feat.

As our partnership developed we were quick to learn that all member producers strive to create and market a “green” coffee – beans that are grown, harvested, dried and roasted utilising environmentally friendly techniques.

This ethos also extends to the home front of the farmers. In order to provide food security for some of its 800 strong farming families, we’re partnering with Coopedota Cooperative to provide ‘home made orchard’ kits (Huerta Casera).

Each kit will include hens, fertilizer and seeds to proffer lettuce, celery, cilantro, chives, radish and chillies. The idea behind the kits is to provide farmers with the tools and seed supplies to grow and harvest their own sustainable food supplies to feed their families.