On Sunday, April 22nd, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative held its annual Board of Directors meeting in Seattle, Washington.
The meeting saw the congregation of the members of Pachamama’s Board of Directors, including: President Merling Preza from PRODECOOP in Nicaragua; Vice President Carlos Reynoso from Manos Campesinas in Guatemala; and Director Guillermo Aguilar from COCLA in Peru. Miguel Mateo from Manos Campesinas was in attendance as well.
Also in attendance were several members of Pachamama’s US-based staff, including co-founders Thaleon Tremain and Nicolas D. Brown.
The meeting proved to be a productive and passionate conversation. Agenda items included an overview of the growth that the cooperative has experienced in recent years, discussions around the strategic plan for the overall growth of the cooperative, and the allocation of net profits to the farmer-owners of Pachamama.
The Board of Directors also voted to instigate several new initiatives that support gender equity and cooperative development projects. These items are closely tied to the principles upon which cooperatives function. Ingrained in the structure of the business is a commitment to education about social and economic issues, and the fostering of local and global communities.
In October 2018, the Board of Directors will reconvene for a week at Pachamama’s roastery and headquarters in Sacramento. At this time, progress will be checked, and a more thorough discussion of the cooperative’s plans for growth will be held.
It is unorthodox in the world of coffee for a boardroom to be controlled by farmer representatives from the countries in which coffee is produced. Typically, there is a gap between the people that grow coffee and those who control how it is roasted, branded and sold to consumers. Pachamama operates to serve as a model for how this gap can be eliminated: by empowering farmers as principal investors in the brand with complete control of the boardroom. It is simple in theory and impactful in reality.
The Pachamama Board of Directors consistently makes decisions that serve to uplift the entire world of coffee, from the ground up. This year’s board meeting was no exception: the directors spoke in the interest of the farmers they represent, and voted accordingly.