Pacha Mama means “Mother Earth” in the Quechua language of Perú. She is revered as a goddess of harvest by the indigenous people of the Andes in South America. She embodies the principle of reciprocity with nature, of sharing and giving back, that includes everything from working harmoniously with the land to promoting a model where people are treated equitably and in true partnership.
The indigenous communities whose wisdom and labors fill your cup are not just suppliers. In a 100% farmer owned company, they are active decision makers with a full stake in the business. Because we're a different kind of company, our impact is unique. It is not the result of projects or donations, but an entire model centering around farmer equity and agency.
Pachamama farmers respect centuries old traditions of building soil, creating thriving and diverse ecosystems, and preserving hundreds of plant and insect species. They have the means to take care of their families, inclusively set their own prices for coffee, and invest in a better harvest year after year.
Vertically Integrated, South to North
Sometimes when we talk to people, they assume that Farmer Owned means that farmers own the land they grow their crops on. However, a 100% farmer-owned cooperative goes far, far beyond that when it comes to ownership and governance.
Pachamama’s smallholder farmers indeed own their land at origin. They also hold every seat in the boardroom and control the price for their coffee. In addition, they own the large roasting facility that we built in 2022 as well as five beautiful cafés in the larger area of Sacramento, California. Here, they employ 54 people who roast and sell the beautiful beans they so carefully grew. Farmers own the name and the brand; they own the very mugs people hold in their hands when enjoying their coffee at our cafés.
We call this being fully vertically integrated, South to North.
Coffee is Global, Not Local
Coffee does not grow on northern American soil. The delicate beans require not only an equatorial climate and high elevations to be at their best, it also takes a high level of farming skill to produce quality in the cup. These optimal conditions can be found in each of the coffee growing regions where Pachamama Coffee comes from - Perú, Nicaragua, Guatemala, México and Ethiopia.
The narrative that “coffee is local” by way of roasting it locally is oversimplified and does a great disservice to the smallholder coffee farmers who create one of the world’s more valuable drinks. In fact, more than 90% of the skilled labor required to bring specialty coffee to consumers occurs in the South, usually on a small family farm. Yet 90% of the retail price of coffee typically stays in the North with the roaster and the brand.
Coffee is global, not local. In a 100% farmer owned cooperative, producers are inherently acknowledged, empowered and paid a price they set themselves that reflects the value they created.
Path to Independence
Pachamama farmers earn the highest revenue in the industry. Pachamama reverses the value chain with its farmer-owned business model that keeps the profit and power in the farmers’ hands. Between 2021-2022, Pachamama’s average revenue was $18.55 for every pound of roasted coffee sold, which is 6x higher than in Fair Trade and 7x higher than in Conventional.
Pachamama farmers earn enough to stay on the farm and reinvest in future harvests. More than half of the 400,000 smallholder farmers are women who play a significant role in cultivating coffee from planting and harvesting to processing. Together, these proud men and women are not only excellent stewards of the land, they are business owners, shareholders and decision makers as well first and foremost.
At the Farm
Most Pachamama farmers are indigenous to their regions, using ancestral knowledge to grow coffee. These regenerative farming practices mitigate negative impacts of extreme weather events as fertile soil preserves water and healthy trees are more resistant.
A typical Pachamama coffee farm is small, maybe a few acres in size, and is a thriving ecosystem brimming with life. Many foods are grown on these lands - bananas, nuts, spices, and cacao - and there is an abundance of birds, bees, insects and worms that nourish the soil. Amongst this diversity Pachamama farmers also grow pristine Arabica coffee beans.
Farmer-Owned and Woman-Led
Merling Preza is Pachamama’s Co-Founder and President of the Board of Directors. A coffee farmer herself, Merling is working tirelessly to advocate for farmers, and particularly for women, in her local Nicaragua and around the world.
“Pachamama Coffee’s model is unique” she says. “First of all because the farmers are the owners of Pachamama Coffee. This not only generates wealth for our families and communities, but also provides dignity. We are the owners in the entire coffee chain, it is our product from our hands to the consumer.”
Her California-based counterpart, Co-Founder and CEO Thaleon Tremain who works for her and the farmer owners, is responsible for bringing their business strategy to life. He sees great opportunity for years to come when it comes to consumers in the US. “We are excited to forge ahead,” he says, “driven by our shared passion for regenerative farming and the pursuit of great coffee. On behalf of the Pachamama team, thank you for your ongoing support and your dedication to smallholder farmers.”