In 2014 Just Coffee put a lot of time and energy into raising resources for and awareness about the situation of our good partners in Nicaragua– Las Diosas. As you probably know, Las Diosas is a women’s cooperative of coffee farmers in northern Nicaragua who lost the vast majority of their coffee crop to the
fungal disease “La Roya”. Roya has devastated coffee crops from South America to Mexico hitting small-scale organic coffee farmers the hardest.
To add insult to injury a harsh drought hit the mountains of northern Nica at the end of the summer and the women of Diosas saw most of their food crops killed. In response to this evolving crisis Las Diosas presented us with a proposal to raise funds for re-planting their coffee, and to introduce more fruit trees, avocados, vine crops, corn and beans to diversify and to increase their food security.
Over the course of the year we worked with our non-profit partners at On The Ground and Outside The Bean as well as with Madison businesses like Change and The Studio to raise over $10,000 for the women and their communities. The money was spent on buying seeds and inputs to replant their coffee as well as to start a micro-loan fund to help women plant their crops including coffee, fruit, and staple foods. Many of our friends and customers pitched in including Marc Maron, Sam Seder, and many more of you good people. Thanks to all of you the women of Las Diosas are getting started in their recovery process.
This is amazing, but we have more work to do. The women will need much more support as they work toward staying on their land, feeding their families, and replanting their coffee. Coffee takes three years to produce and there are still challenging times ahead. We thank you for all of your support in 2014 and ask you to stay tuned for more opportunities to plug in including a trip to visit the women in the late spring or early summer months.
Fair trade is quite possibly played out as a term, but if we take a step back and look at its roots we see the sometimes hidden relationships with other people in the global market and community. We can make progress in creating a more just trading system when we take the extra step to interact with those whom we share these sometimes hidden connections. Thanks for supporting Just Coffee Co-op, our partners, and farmers like Las Diosas. We hope to hear from you soon.