This weekend marked a triumph for the coffee farmers that own and control Pachamama Coffee Cooperative. On January 19, two of our certified organic coffees received 2018 Good Food Awards. Pachamama’s Ethiopia Kossa Geshe and Ethiopia Amaro Gayo were selected as winners by the Good Food Foundation, which is committed to honoring crafters of food and drink that are at the forefront of a new American food system that is authentic and socially responsible. At Pachamama Coffee, we recognize that the credit is truly due to the farmers in Ethiopia that produced these exceptional crops of organic coffee.
Pachamama Coffee Cooperative started in 2001 with a few simple questions in mind: what would it look like to take Fair Trade a step further? How can coffee farmers be in a direct relationship with consumers in the United States? We found that the answer was simple: direct ownership of the relationship with the retail consumer. Pachamama Coffee collectively owned by more than 240,000 family farmers in Latin America and Africa. When farmers stand behind the farming, exporting, roasting, marketing, and distribution of the coffee they bring to us, they maintain control of their destiny. On average, our customers paid more than $12 per pound roasted to coffee farmers in 2017.
As a function of our cooperative structure, Pachamama is also democratically controlled by farmers – our Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from our five member cooperatives in Nicaragua, Peru, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Guatemala. This benefits farmers who now control their coffees’ supply chain – from farming and roasting, to decisions about marketing, pricing and operations. Pachamama’s model of ownership and vertical integration gives a fresh take on sustainability in the specialty coffee industry.
“For us, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative represents our dreams of serving you our best coffee, freshly-roasted in the United States,” shares Merling Preza, the President of our Board of Directors and representative of PRODECOOP cooperative in Nicaragua. “When we started with Fair Trade 25 years ago, it was our ultimate dream to roast and brand our coffee, selling it as a finished product. For our small farmers, Pachamama is an evolution born from necessity and a strong determination to stay on the farm.” More than that, explains Merling, it is an investment that the farmers are making in their own future. When farmers are not under the pressure of volatile green coffee prices, they are empowered to produce coffee with more care. All of the coffee Pachamama roasts is organic and shade grown, which means that we are not only socially sustainable, but also produced without chemicals and under shade canopy.