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People-to-People Commerce, Coffee, Cooperatives, and You

March 23, 2017

If you’re curious about what people-to-people commerce looks like, this picture is worth a thousand words. It’s from a trip I made back in February, as interpreter-friend of Little River Roasting Company, a local coffee roaster. (My day job is as a Spanish professor.) The photo is from the day of our departure from our visit to the growers in Cocochó, and it celebrates the first direct sale of high altitude, shade grown, organic, and fair trade coffee made by ANACCAFE, a growers’ cooperative in the mountains of Amazonas, Peru, to an international buyer.

 

During our visit, three generations of farmers led us down steeply sloping paths through coffee fields at 7000 feet. We saw not just the ripening cherries on the coffee plants but also the big, old hardwoods that provide shade and habitat and keep the mountainside intact from erosion. We heard birds flitting overhead amid the branches. We tasted pineapples and other fruits in the mixed plantings on the farmers’ parcels —plantings that not only feed families but also encourage biodiversity. And we heard about how grandparents with a strong work ethic and a vision for their community sent children to college, and how those graduates circled home with education and experiences that helped reinvigorate the cooperative. Most importantly, we saw how cups of sustainable coffee you sip in the United States can make lives better.

 

As a Hub City cooperative shopper, owner, or investor, you’re part of a network of communities with pride of place and a dream of thriving together. You share a common purpose with hard-working people and small businesses—like consumers’ cooperatives, growers’ cooperatives, and independent roasters—who share a desire for good business, good living, and healthy communities. So go ahead, have another cup of coffee or open a can of cold brew. And don’t miss a chance to make a difference with your choice! On a mountaintop in Peru, they weren’t just celebrating our visit—they were celebrating you, too.

By: Laura Barbas-Rhoden (Vice-Chair Hub City Co-op Board)

 

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