The farmer-owned cooperative Pachamama Coffee launched the world's first global C.S.A. (Community Support Agriculture) program last week. (Here's an article from the New York Times). The new web platform, www.CoffeeCSA.org, is a community supported agriculture model that allows consumers to subscribe to regular deliveries of roasted coffee from family farmers. It is the world's first project to directly connect consumers with 140,000 small-scale coffee farmer entrepreneurs in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Ethiopia. An unprecedented model in the coffee industry, CoffeeCSA empowers farmers to differentiate outside of the commodity crop model and deal directly with consumers. All CoffeeCSA coffees are Certified Organic, hand-roasted in small batches and available on the CoffeeCSA website and at over 100 independent cafe's and cooperative grocery retailers. With micro-lending models such as Kiva.org gaining popularity, CoffeeCSA.org goes one step further by allowing CSA subscribers to fund, purchase and consume the finished product directly from the farm entrepreneur.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a burgeoning national food trend in which thousands of America's small farms and artisan food producers are supported by CSA consumers who are so passionate about direct farmer relationships that they become stakeholders in a farmer's harvest. These food lovers go beyond the farmers market to buy weekly, monthly or annual shares in local, seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, meat, dairy and even seafood. But coffee is not grown locally, and conscious consumers had no real direct access to the product or the personal stories of individual growers. By offering CSA subscriptions to independent, family-owned coffee farms, CoffeeCSA gives coffee lovers the opportunity to invest in and enjoy the harvest of small-scale coffee farmers, helping them earn more money and preserve family farms for future generations. 140,000 farmer-owners grow coffee for CoffeeCSA on small farms whose size ranges from from one to 10 acres.
"For people who treasure their coffee experience, CoffeeCSA is a powerful way to make a direct connection to the farmer," said Thaleon Tremain, CEO, Pachamama Coffee. "Subscribers secure their own personal share of a specific coffee harvest and support an individual farmer who works hard to grow the finest single-origin coffee available today. This is a real relationship, and a commitment which goes far beyond a label on a bag."
Small-scale coffee farming is financially risky. Direct relationships with American coffee lovers can ensure stability for growers who struggle to cultivate a sensitive agricultural crop in a volatile global market. "I am proud of the coffee I grow, and I am proud that I make my own independent decisions as a coffee farmer," said Catarina Yac, coffee farm owner from Santa Clara Laguna, Guatemala. But I also like to learn from other people. I look forward to connecting with Americans who buy my coffee!"
The online service is easy to use and offers varying levels of purchase commitment. CSA shares start at $19.99 per month for 2 pounds of fresh-roasted coffee, with flat-rate shipping of $9.99 per box. 2 pound, 5 pound, and 10 pound CSA boxes are available. Membership requires only entering an email address and name, and can be canceled at any time with no obligation. Subscriptions are flexible with options to select a personal farmer from a specific region or bundle of featured farmers from multiple origins including Ethiopia, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico. Monthly deliveries are standard, with options to customize timing and delivery locations. All coffee is fresh-roasted in California and shipped directly to subscribers. Members can choose to receive regular email updates from their farming family. All CoffeeCSA.org offerings are Certified Organic by CCOF with labels guaranteeing environmental stewardship and transparency in accordance with prominent third-party certification systems.