We recently had the opportunity to spend some time visiting coffee mills and farms in Guatemala. Wow! What a fantastic experience. We drank a TON of fantastic coffee, cupped some stellar samples that might make their way here this year and learned more about coffee than any human should be allowed to learn in a weeks time.
The trip was sponsored by Genuine Origin (GO) – a division of Volcafé Specialty Coffee. The purpose of the trip was to show us what Volcafé / GO is doing to help farmers in coffee growing communities around the world. If you’ve been around for any period of time, you’re well aware of how much we love to work with organizations that teach farmers how to grow great coffee.
There are many ways we can assist farmers in coffee growing communities. Particularly in areas that are under resourced. We can provide water, education, schools, micro loans, build processing mills, provide resources to farmers and the list goes on. Lots of fantastic organizations do these things and more.
But, really, what’s the bottom line for any coffee farmer?
If the work they put into their farm – no matter how big or small that farm is – does not net them a profit at the end of the day, they will stop farming, stop putting resources into the farm and sometimes, completely abandon the coffee farm.
This is where the Volcafé Way starts. They provide resources and a plan that helps farmers become more profitable. Often times, farms have been in a family for decades – generations even. And farming techniques are handed down from generation to generation. They don’t always have the most up-to-date farming techniques or knowledge that will help them coax a few more pounds of coffee (and, as a result, profit) out of that coffee plant each year.
This is Jorge on his family farm. Jorge has been working with Volcafe learning the Volcafe Way and implementing these tools to great success. So much so that other farms around him have started to get involved as well.
So glad you asked. At a certain level, Volcafé works with each farm providing them with a unique plan that, if followed, will result in an improved crop and more profit year over year. Trained agronomists partner with farmers to work out a plan that consists of several different components.
Some of the key things Volcafé agronomists do that we learned about include (but are definitely not limited to):
These techniques are all well and good, but if they just give the farmers ideas and then walk away, it really doesn’t change anything. Volcafé is looking for long-term improvement in coffee growing communities. Here’s how they accomplish that.
Yes. Most definitely. We’re very excited to be continuing to work with Genuine Origin. It follows exactly our mission of working with organizations who teach. And the benefits we’ve seen already are making a huge impact on the coffee growing communities where Volcafé is working.