Tag Archive for: Central America

by Rocky Rhodes

Roasters Rock

Categories: 2015, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

airport lounge at the first lights of the dayGetting on a plane to go to a for­eign coun­try where you have never been before can be intim­i­dat­ing. This arti­cle will con­tain impor­tant tips for con­ve­nience, safety, and get­ting the most out of your trip.

First: Decide WHERE you are going.
A roaster should go to any coun­try from which they source cof­fee. Start with a grow­ing region – Africa, Central America, South America or Asia. Then start to take coun­tries off the table. Sadly, unless you are a thrill seeker with a death wish, you may want to stay away from coun­tries in upheaval like Yemen. If you need excel­lent hotel accom­mo­da­tions with hand­i­cap access you may want to take a large part of the third world off the list as well.

Second: Decide WHY you are going.
To help you decide where to go, it is use­ful to decide why you are mak­ing a trip. There are many pos­si­ble answers, all of which might steer you to one par­tic­u­lar ori­gin or another. Here are some pop­u­lar rea­sons to go:
1)    Just to touch the earth where cof­fee is grown and learn about it. This is totally a legit­i­mate rea­son. You will prob­a­bly want to go to an area from which you source cof­fee, but it is not manda­tory.
2)    I want to visit a farm I work with and really get to know the farmer. This is a great way to sell more cof­fee. If you can tell the story of your trip and your per­sonal rela­tion­ship with a pro­ducer, you will sell more cof­fee from that pro­ducer.
3)    To get an edu­ca­tion about the entire sup­ply chain from farm­ing to export­ing. This will require a bit more on-the-ground sup­port, but is a great goal! (See the fifth step below.)

Third: Plan Ahead
So you picked a place. Now there are some impor­tant, time-sensitive items you will need to deal with before you can leave.

1)    You must find out what, if any, VISAs you will need to travel to the coun­try. If you are going as a tourist, many coun­tries have a visa on arrival. If you are going to work (and get paid in any way) you may have to obtain a work visa which should be started about 60 days ahead of time. It will involve work­ing with your in-country part­ner to write let­ters and per­haps visit the embassy on your behalf. Information about Visas can be found at:
2)    Medical con­sid­er­a­tions for dif­fer­ent coun­tries need to be defined early on as well. Some coun­tries, and even our own, require cer­tain vac­cines for dif­fer­ent coun­tries. It can some­times take a while to get an appoint­ment and some need to be taken well in advance of going. You  can find out more at:
3)    Have an up to date pass­port with sev­eral blank pages. If you go and look and find out your pass­port is or is about to expire and / or you only have 1 blank page and you are on your way to the air­port, you might be turned away at immi­gra­tion. You can find pass­port require­ments for dif­fer­ent coun­tries at the same site for visa requirements.

Fourth: Make a safety plan
Whether it is fire, flood, polit­i­cal unrest or some other event, you need to have a safety plan. The first best way is to have a cell phone that will work in the coun­try where you are going. Many of the cel­lu­lar car­ri­ers offer an inter­na­tional roam­ing option. You can always turn off voice and / or data roam­ing while you are trav­el­ling and just turn it on in case of emer­gen­cies. Have a detailed itin­er­ary with some­one back home so they can find you when they need to. Also enroll in STEP to get safety updates wher­ever you are going:

Fifth: Utilize part­ners and plan your trip
Most cof­fee ori­gins have a cof­fee asso­ci­a­tion or two. Contact them to help with some logis­tics of get­ting around and meet­ing some local folks. If you are trav­el­ling to a place you source from, trace your cof­fee back to the mill, coöper­a­tive or farm and set appoint­ments that way. You will find that you will be wel­comed every­where. Also con­tact the US con­sulate there to get some tips on where to go (and not go) as well as an hon­est assess­ment of con­di­tions in the country.

Stuff to take with you and stuff to leave behind
Money is nec­es­sary every­where. Try to travel with an inter­na­tional credit card with no for­eign trans­ac­tion fees. Those add up pretty fast.  Also bring some new, crisp, $100 bills. You get the best exchange rates that way. You can always exchange money when you get there and it is always help­ful to have local cur­rency in your pocket.

Attire is impor­tant for being func­tional for what you will be doing as well as blend­ing in. Jeans are uni­ver­sal. Jewelry should prob­a­bly be left at home. Shorts and a Hawaiian shirt are a big sign that says rob me! Cover up, blend in.

Drugs are a no-no with the excep­tion of OTC or antibi­otics and such. Your med­ical mar­i­juana card does not work wher­ever you are going and you DO NOT want to end up in jail out­side the U.S.

General eti­quette is so sim­ple and yet often for­got­ten when trav­el­ling. Familiarize your­self with local cus­toms, tra­di­tions and reli­gions so you don’t put your foot in it. Most locals like it when you put an effort to blend in.

So go have fun. Learn a lot. Make some friends and busi­ness con­nec­tions. Once you shake somebody’s hand, you have a higher level of bond­ing. SAFE TRAVELS TO YOU!

Rocky Rhodes is an 18 year cof­fee vet­eran, roaster, and Q-Grader Instructor, and his mis­sion now is to trans­form the cof­fee sup­ply chain and make sweep­ing dif­fer­ences in the lives of those that pro­duce the green cof­fee. Rocky can be reached at

Producer Profile

Categories: 2015, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

What is Cup of Excellence®?
Cup of Excellence is a pre­mier cof­fee com­pe­ti­tion and world­wide auc­tion offer­ing the high­est award given to a top scor­ing cof­fee. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence cof­fees undergo is unmatched as all of the COE award win­ners are cupped at least five times (the top ten are cupped again) dur­ing the three-week com­pe­ti­tion. Literally hun­dreds of cups are smelled, tasted and scored based on their exem­plary char­ac­ter­is­tics. The prices that these win­ning cof­fees receive at the auc­tion have bro­ken records time and again to prove that there is a huge demand for these rare, farmer iden­ti­fied cof­fees. The farmer receives the major­ity of the auc­tion pro­ceeds based on the price paid at auc­tion, and the farmer can expect to receive more than 80% of the final price. The remain­ing auc­tion pro­ceeds are paid to the in-country orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to help pay for the program.

Changing Producer Lives
13.Miravalle1Being selected as one of the win­ners at Cup of Excellence means recog­ni­tion and reward for the grower and has been a spring­board for many grow­ers to secure long-term rela­tion­ships with inter­na­tional buy­ers, which, in turn, allows for fur­ther invest­ment in the farm and brings secu­rity for fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.
The expe­ri­ence for the grower is life-changing. He or she is a star and for that one ner­vous, exhil­a­rat­ing moment, applauded. Proudly walk­ing up on the stage and accept­ing the applause, the grower real­izes their hard work, atten­tion to detail, maybe their very liveli­hood, is being rec­og­nized as impor­tant to their entire coun­try. Some are very shy, never hav­ing been in any kind of pub­lic spot­light. Many are hum­ble coun­try folk – and this is evi­dent as they shake hands with an ambas­sador, the vice pres­i­dent or even the pres­i­dent of a coun­try, their expres­sion clearly show­ing the huge ela­tion of win­ning. Cup of Excellence has cre­ated a much more trans­par­ent infra­struc­ture for high qual­ity cof­fee. Roasters can now iden­tify, find and build rela­tion­ships with grow­ers of supe­rior cof­fees. It brings together the high qual­ity roaster and the high qual­ity farmer and helps both under­stand and appre­ci­ate the nuances and fla­vor pro­files of rare exem­plary cof­fees. It has changed the pric­ing struc­ture for farm­ers and has dis­cov­ered many of the incred­i­ble cof­fees that have built con­sumer excite­ment and loy­alty. With that, we are excited to present our new series: Producer Profiles.

El Salvador: Finca Miravalle
Table 1High on the vel­vet green shoul­der of El Salvador’s Santa Ana vol­cano nes­tles Finca Miravalle. Dr. Jaime Ernesto Riera Menendez owns and man­ages these 10 hectares, where cli­mate, rain­fall, and metic­u­lous hus­bandry com­bine to pro­duce his award-winning cof­fee. In 1980, Dr. Mendez’s father, Amadeo Riera y Solsona, bought the plan­ta­tion and named it Miravalle (Overlooking the Valley). Dom Amadeo began the process of reclaim­ing the cof­fee trees from the wild, and when he passed away, left Miravalle to his wife, Marta Dolores Menendez de Riera. Eventually she trans­ferred own­er­ship to her son, Dr. Menendez, a gas­troen­terol­o­gist, who inher­ited his parent’s love for cof­fee, and today Jaime and his mother Marta super­vise the farm’s oper­a­tions together.

At Finca Miravalle, a com­bi­na­tion of Bourbon and Pacas cof­fee vari­etals grow in the shade of native Ingas, Cipres and Gravileo trees, thriv­ing at an aver­age alti­tude of 1650 metres above sea level. Menendez and his farm man­ager, Luis Flores, employ cul­tural prac­tices such as con­tin­u­ous prun­ing of both cof­fee and shade trees, weed con­trol, replant­ing, and more, all of which they accom­plish by tra­di­tional meth­ods. Flores has worked with Dr. Menendez for seven years, and man­aged the plan­ta­tion for the last four. They have been able to almost com­pletely avoid the cof­fee rust that has plagued much of Central America. Together, they have pro­duced a cof­fee that has won the Cup of Excellence award for four con­sec­u­tive years.

Table 2From its van­tage point so far above the val­ley, Miravalle’s cof­fee ripens slowly. It is selec­tively hand­picked, fully washed, and then dried in the sun. During most of the year, only two peo­ple live at the farm—Luis and his wife—but dur­ing har­vest that pop­u­la­tion swells to about 70, as selected pick­ers from the sur­round­ing region con­verge. After the 2005 erup­tion of the Santa Ana vol­cano, which caused rocks the size of cars to hur­tle down on the land, many work­ers migrated to lower ele­va­tions. Now, Miravalle pays their pick­ers almost 40% above min­i­mum wage to come back up the moun­tain and par­tic­i­pate in the cof­fee harvest.

Dr. Menendez cred­its the excel­lent qual­ity of the Bourbón vari­ety, along with the alti­tude and loca­tion of Miravalle, for his farm’s 13th place award in the Cup of Excellence this year. Dr. Menendez is highly moti­vated to keep up with opti­mum har­vest and sort­ing processes to improve the qual­ity of his cof­fee each year. The key to this, he believes, is moti­vat­ing the peo­ple that work on the farm, teach­ing them the impor­tance of their role, and improv­ing the ben­e­fits for every­one involved.

This lot of Finca Miravalle cof­fee offers jas­mine in the aroma, cedar, malt, and grape­fruit up front, and a clean mouth­feel that ends in a lin­ger­ing aftertaste.

Bridging Agricultural Communities to Sustainability in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
In the rugged hills of rural Nicaragua, Agros International part­ners with agri­cul­tural fam­i­lies to build com­mu­ni­ties that empower them to change their lives. Agros helps peo­ple gain the exper­tise and expe­ri­ence they need to free them­selves from exploita­tion and grow thriv­ing agri­cul­tural busi­nesses by pro­vid­ing train­ing in busi­ness, agri­cul­ture, and finance, and pro­vid­ing access to hous­ing, health care, san­i­ta­tion and clean water.

We invest from day one in devel­op­ing lead­er­ship and own­er­ship among part­ner fam­i­lies with the inten­tion that in 8 to 10 years the com­mu­nity will be fully self-sustainable. Families are offered the trans­for­ma­tional oppor­tu­nity to become landown­ers, earn­ing the title to the land on which they live by pay­ing off a care­fully per­son­al­ized loan. Children who may have been sick due to lack of health care have access to doc­tors and edu­ca­tion. Mothers receive pre­na­tal care and nutri­tional train­ing. Subsistence farm­ing makes way for robust, market-driven crop production.

This year in Nicaragua, Agros launches our first regional project that bridges our tra­di­tional vil­lage model to regional impact in agri­cul­tural and health train­ing, san­i­ta­tion, and more. Over the esti­mated 8-year life of the project, we will work with approx­i­mately 800 fam­i­lies to strengthen agri­cul­tural knowl­edge and pro­duc­tion, fam­ily health and nutri­tion, and mar­ket knowl­edge and access. In 2015, we wel­comed the first 50 fam­i­lies onto the land where they will live and build their new farm­ing busi­nesses. Concurrently, we will also con­tinue our out­reach to regional fam­i­lies by pro­vid­ing train­ing in agri­cul­ture, nutri­tion, and health.

“I’ve always been a fighter,” says Rosario, a farmer and entre­pre­neur in Tierra Nueva, Nicaragua, and sin­gle mother of three.

Hard work is noth­ing new to Rosario, who began work­ing full-time in the fields as a day laborer with her father at age 17. Before mov­ing to Tierra Nueva, Rosario worked along­side men, har­vest­ing cof­fee and cut­ting weeds with a machete. It was a hard way to earn a liv­ing for her three children.

When the oppor­tu­nity arose to work with Agros, Rosario didn’t hes­i­tate. She imme­di­ately noticed that there were no stores in the com­mu­nity, so she decided to take a risk: she invested all of her sav­ings in a small store that she runs from her home.

The store is not Rosario’s only hope for the future. She is also invest­ing in future cof­fee har­vests. “I’m try­ing to fill my land with cof­fee plants,” she says, know­ing cof­fee often pro­duces a higher return than other tra­di­tional crops like corn and beans.

Like many part­ners in Tierra Nueva, Rosario would never have dared to try to plant cof­fee with­out the tech­ni­cal and phys­i­cal sup­port of Agros’ agri­cul­tural staff. “Agros has helped us a lot,” she says. “They have helped us with the mate­ri­als, helped us know how to have bet­ter har­vests. Through their tech­ni­cal sup­port, we have had bet­ter har­vests and more earnings.”

With Rosario, we invite you to join us on this incred­i­ble jour­ney of empow­er­ment and transformation.

Readers can help by
Tierras de Vida Annual Dinner: We invite indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions to spon­sor a table at our annual fundrais­ing event, Tierras de Vida. Email us at to learn more or to become a sponsor.

Direct from the Field Updates and Webinars: We host quar­terly updates near our offices in Seattle, WA. For those not able to attend the events in per­son, we occa­sion­ally host a web-based update. To learn more or attend, email Claire at

One Seed Gift Catalog: Find mean­ing­ful gift ideas that help fam­i­lies in need, such as fluffy chicks or an acre of seed. We’ll send your loved one a per­son­al­ized card inform­ing them of your car­ing gift. One Seed gifts sup­port Agros’ work in Central America. Find your next gift at

Agros International’s work is made pos­si­ble through dona­tions from indi­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions, and cor­po­ra­tions who sup­port our mis­sion to end poverty. Visit us on the web: Find us on Facebook: Contact a Philanthropy Services Officer for a per­sonal intro­duc­tion:

Project Contact:
Christa Countryman



Project URL:

Nicaragua, Matagalpa Region

Project Impact:
Over the esti­mated 8-year life of the project, we will work with approx­i­mately 800 fam­i­lies (5,000 peo­ple) to strengthen agri­cul­tural knowl­edge and pro­duc­tion, fam­ily health and nutri­tion, and mar­ket knowl­edge and access.

Generations: Building Perspectives for Rural Youth in Trifinio

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Pervasive poverty and a lack of per­spec­tives are only a few of the chal­lenges young peo­ple liv­ing in el Trifinio, the tri-border area between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, face. While their par­ents have been cof­fee pro­duc­ers for all their lives – a pro­fes­sion handed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion – youth now tend to break with this tra­di­tion in search for more attrac­tive income-generating activ­i­ties by migrat­ing to larger cities or the United States.

Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, Tim Hortons, the Trade Facilitation Office Canada, and the International Coffee Partners, Fundación SES and the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung are team­ing up for the young­sters’ per­spec­tives. Together, we are imple­ment­ing an ini­tia­tive to enhance young people’s abil­i­ties and strengthen their oppor­tu­ni­ties for employ­ment and entre­pre­neur­ship. In el Trifinio, where over 70% of the rural econ­omy depends on cof­fee in one way or another, youths lack pos­si­bil­i­ties to engage them­selves in the local employ­ment market.

Using a peer-to-peer edu­ca­tion method, youth are engaged in acquir­ing skills for employ­a­bil­ity and entre­pre­neur­ship and are guided towards exist­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties within and out­side of the cof­fee value chain.  They develop their indi­vid­ual ‘life plans’ and are con­nected to a net­work of employ­ers, voca­tional insti­tutes and farmer orga­ni­za­tions to con­duct intern­ships and train­ing courses.

The project will empower 3,130 youth in cof­fee grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties to help them dis­cover their goals in life and help them to seek fur­ther train­ing. By offer­ing a vari­ety of oppor­tu­ni­ties, youth are offered the chance to exper­i­ment with their tal­ents and develop new skills.  With greater access to employ­ment, edu­ca­tional, or entre­pre­neur­ial oppor­tu­ni­ties young peo­ple will have more rea­son to remain in their com­mu­ni­ties and become dri­vers of the rural economy.

Creating oppor­tu­ni­ties for youth is vital to erad­i­cat­ing poverty in the long run. Encouraging them to try out their ideas and visions and to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment in which they thrive to learn and engage might turn a new leaf for cof­fee pro­duc­tion – one where youth can still hand down cof­fee pro­duc­tion to the next gen­er­a­tion of cof­fee growers.

Readers can help by
Spread the word!

Farmers are aging; cof­fee pro­duc­tion is a risky busi­ness with cli­mate and price fluc­tu­a­tions. This leaves lit­tle incen­tive for youth to con­tinue in cof­fee. How can cof­fee pro­duc­tion be made eco­nom­i­cally more attrac­tive for youth to stay?  Who will be the future lead­ers in the rural com­mu­ni­ties to shape the future of cof­fee?
1–    Modern pro­duc­tion prac­tices and a stronger busi­ness focus need to be intro­duced to add value and change the per­cep­tion towards cof­fee as a busi­ness.
2–    Rural com­mu­ni­ties need holis­tic and strate­gic devel­op­ment plans – cof­fee must be part of an eco­nomic devel­op­ment strat­egy in com­bi­na­tion with other opportunities.

Do you want to sup­port us in giv­ing the young­sters of Central America a viable per­spec­tive? Then please share our mis­sion and pass this mes­sage on!
HRNS on Facebook:
HRNS on Twitter:
Our Generations-blog:

Project Contact:
Gyde Feddersen


+49 (0)40808112422

Project URL:

Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador

Project Impact:
3,130 youth will be empow­ered through this project.

& Food Sovereignty">The Roya Recovery & Food Sovereignty

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
The Roya fun­gus has dev­as­tated cof­fee pro­duc­tion in Central America, includ­ing the Ixil region of Guatemala, where cof­fee farm­ers have lost over 75% of their cof­fee pro­duc­tion. Small-scale cof­fee farm­ers have had their liveli­hoods destroyed, which has mag­ni­fied the deep poverty that already exists there.

The Roya Recovery Project trains cof­fee farm­ers in the use of effec­tive microor­gan­isms (EMs) to defend their cof­fee plants against the dev­as­tat­ing fun­gus. EMs kill La Roya on the leaves, starve La Roya in the soil, and break­down nutri­ents in the soil rapidly for plants to absorb quickly for quicker plant nourishment.

The project trains farm­ers in soil replen­ish­ment using organic com­post, cover crop­ping and ash, and trains farm­ers to effec­tively prune a per­cent­age of their farms each year, ‘cleans­ing’ old cof­fee plants of unneeded branches that use up too much of the plant’s energy.

The project trains farm­ers in pro­duc­ing ‘live bar­ri­ers’ – fruit trees, canopies, etc. – that pro­vide shade and pro­tect plants against wind, rain and ero­sion as well as hard bar­ri­ers such as rocks to pro­tect organic farms against non organic runoff from other farms.

The Roya Recovery Project grew out of The Food Sovereignty Project, which was estab­lished to help fam­i­lies over­come chronic hunger all too preva­lent even when pro­duc­tion is good. Both projects uti­lize many of the same organic agri­cul­tural prac­tices, and both projects employ the shared learn­ing prin­ci­ples of Campesino a Campesino, which pro­motes lat­eral learn­ing from farmer to farmer and empow­ers farm­ers in every aspect of their lives.

Through organic prac­tices, the farm­ers from Asociacion Chajulense will recover their lost cof­fee pro­duc­tion and increase their pro­duc­tiv­ity to sig­nif­i­cantly improve their income from cof­fee. The farm­ers will also learn appro­pri­ate, organic prac­tices that will pre­vent La Roya from return­ing in the future, and pro­tect against a host of other blights. The farm­ers learn through the prin­ci­ples of Campesino a Campesino. These shared learn­ing prin­ci­ples, from farmer to farmer, allow farm­ers to become empow­ered and inspired in every aspect of their lives.

Inextricably linked to Food Sovereignty, the project teaches women how to estab­lish their own fam­ily gar­dens, use rich organic com­post to nour­ish their soil, care for the hens to pro­vide large quan­ti­ties of eggs for fam­ily con­sump­tion and much-needed pro­tein, and also to sell extra egg pro­duc­tion for added income. The project also trains fam­i­lies to con­struct their own in-home, effi­cient, ven­ti­lated stoves. These stoves sig­nif­i­cantly reduce the bil­low­ing black smoke that is caused by unven­ti­lated in-home stoves, which causes severe and often fatal res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses and stunted brain devel­op­ment amongst children.

Readers can help by
Readers can help by mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to The Coffee Trust and des­ig­nat­ing it for either the Roya Recovery Project or The Food Sovereignty Project.

Readers can also help by inquir­ing at The Coffee Trust about obtain­ing infor­ma­tion, mate­ri­als, posters, and video graph­ics to be used inside cafes for cus­tomers to learn more about La Roya, and Food Sovereignty.

Readers can also host a fundraiser in their own café or pro­mote in-store fundrais­ers to their whole­sale clients. The Coffee Trust pro­vides all of the mate­ri­als. All the café has to pro­vide is the space and the time to host the fundraiser. The Coffee Trust pro­vides all the rest.

Project Contact:
Bill Fishbein



Project URL:

Guatemala, Asociacion Chajulense farm­ers are amongst the most mar­gin­al­ized cof­fee pro­duc­ers in the world. The asso­ci­a­tion was estab­lished in the mid­dle of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war and became a bea­con of hope in this dark period of Guatemala’s his­tory. Today, much of its cof­fee pro­duc­tion is sourced directly by spe­cialty, Fair Trade cof­fee roast­ers. Even before La Roya struck, the region was deeply impov­er­ished and addi­tion­ally dev­as­tated by the civil war.

Project Impact:
The project involves 500–750 cof­fee farm­ers and their fam­i­lies affect­ing any­where from 2,500 to 4,000 people.

Direct Trade: Relationships

Categories: 2013, SeptemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Why get into the cof­fee busi­ness?  Relationships.  Seeking out like-minded peo­ple all over the cof­fee grow­ing world and return­ing home with their hard work to share is what sep­a­rates cof­fee as a busi­ness from cof­fee as a lifestyle. My col­league Brandon Bir and I were for­tu­nate to find our­selves in Guatemala ear­lier this year amongst the finest of cof­fee and people.

We drop out of the sky and into the land of eter­nal spring. The weather in Guatemala, as adver­tised, is going to make our search that more enjoy­able. Brandon and I are here in search of that moment – hard to define but easy to spot once it hap­pens – when we dis­cover a cof­fee we just have to have. After cup­ping cof­fee together daily, Brandon and I know what we’re look­ing for.

At the air­port gate, we’re met by a friend who has set aside a few days to guide us. He is no stranger to this jour­ney; in fact, he has ded­i­cated his life to it. Once the youngest Q-grader in the world, Jorge Ovalle now spends most of his time look­ing for great cof­fee. We have arrived with the same purpose.

We quickly escape the air­port and embark on our quest. We are headed to Antigua, a grow­ing region of great tra­di­tion and renown. Some of the world’s most elo­quent cups of cof­fee are born in Antigua every year, but this year’s har­vest has come under attack. The region, like much of Central America, has fallen prey to Roya, or cof­fee rust, caused by the fun­gus hemileia vas­ta­trix. Even at drive-by speeds the effect is obvi­ous. The once-lush green foliage usu­ally adorn­ing the hill­sides has been replaced by spindly twigs, mere skele­tons of their for­mer grandeur. Some hold on to their dig­nity despite the plague and bravely man­age clus­ters of bright crim­son berries. The extent of the dam­age varies from one farm to another, as each uti­lizes its own prac­tices. Of course, the most vul­ner­a­ble farmer is the organic farmer, who can­not use chem­i­cal fungi­cides to com­bat the plague.

Jorge takes us to Maria del Pintado, the only Antigua cof­fee farm that is cer­ti­fied organic. Standing in the shad­ows of a majes­tic 400-year-old hacienda, which once housed Mother Teresa for a visit, we are wit­ness to a near-apocalyptic scene of denuded cof­fee trees. While Mad Max may have looked around, dusted him­self off and moved on, the owner and man­agers here have shown more back­bone. Within a few weeks, they must decide whether or not they are going to pull up all the plants and start over. If they do, there will be no yields for years to come. The other option is the use of non-organic fer­til­iz­ers. After meet­ing Belarmino, the man­ager, I don’t believe that this was ever a con­sid­er­a­tion. While tour­ing the grounds we learn of his fierce ded­i­ca­tion to this land and the cof­fee on it. Every aspect of pro­cess­ing El Pintado cof­fee takes place on the farm and under Belamino’s over­sight. “This was to be the year,” Belarmino told us, “But for the rust.”  The yield for this year’s har­vest can’t be ignored. Only 60 bags.

When the meet­ing of minds takes place and the fate of El Pintado is deter­mined, a key fig­ure in the deci­sion will be Jorge’s father, Jorge De Leon, Sr. He started in cof­fee in 1981 at age 17. He got a job clean­ing the cup­ping labs and orga­niz­ing the results. He would blind cup the sam­ples him­self and com­pare his notes with cup­pers’ records while no one was watch­ing. Jorge cleaned for years before he was offered the addi­tional duties of roast­ing the sam­ples. After work, he would go to the library and learn what he could about grow­ing and pro­cess­ing cof­fee. He has since worked as a cup­per for farms and labs through­out Guatemala, advis­ing on all aspects of qual­ity con­trol: farm­ing, milling, and cup­ping. In 2011 he won Guatemala’s national cup­ping com­pe­ti­tion and rep­re­sented Guatemala in Amsterdam at the world cup­ping com­pe­ti­tion where he was a final­ist. His work ethic remains unchanged 30 years later. Next to his house is his roast­ing and cup­ping lab. After vis­it­ing farms all day with Jorge Jr. we join Jorge Sr. at his house each night. We start cup­ping again between 8 and 9 p.m. Sometime after mid­night Brandon and I have to call it a night. Our nerves are on over­drive from a steady diet of caf­feine and we have new farms to see and new cof­fees to try first thing in the morn­ing. You just can’t out-cup the De Leons.

It was in the De Leons’ pri­vate cof­fee lab where we had that moment for the first time in Guatemala. Brandon and I both know this is what we are look­ing for. It was a blend that Jorge Jr. had put together using beans from local small-lot farms. We dubbed this blend “Jorge’s Pick.” Jorge had already taken us to visit many of the farms where the cof­fee was grown. Unfortunately, none of them would be able to help export the unusual blend, and the De Leons don’t have an export license. Still, we had to have this coffee.

The next day we cupped some good cof­fees and a few that stood out when that moment hit us again. It was the quin­tes­sen­tial Antigua, bal­anced and soft, rich with choco­late notes but still no real spikes. It is exactly what I want in an Antigua, and we have to have some of this too. As it turns out, this cof­fee is the prod­uct of El Pintado. But with such a small yield this year and reg­u­lar cus­tomers in Korea, would there be any left for us?  Obtaining the cof­fee would involve call­ing the owner, who was out of the coun­try at the time. She made her­self avail­able for us and agreed to set aside some bags of cof­fee. We also were for­tu­nate to make arrange­ments for export­ing the two types of cof­fee.  We have recently learned that the cof­fee trees of El Pintado will be spared.  I hope we are able to join them next har­vest, see their progress and shake hands again.

Coffee is a busi­ness of rela­tion­ships. The trick, when it comes down to it, is do you trust who you’re doing busi­ness with?  We trav­eled to Guatemala to find great cof­fee but more impor­tantly, strengthen the rela­tion­ships with the peo­ple behind the coffee.

Providing Land, Hope, and Life to Central American Families

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Argos 1Project Description
Agros International strives to reach rural fam­i­lies in Central America with crit­i­cal resources and train­ing that helps them to work their way out of des­per­ate poverty. A Seattle-based 501©(3) non­profit, Agros serves the rural poor of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico by pro­vid­ing access to agri­cul­tural land, water, pri­mary edu­ca­tion, and train­ing in how to grow crops. Coffee is a sta­ple cash crop for most of Agros’ com­mu­ni­ties. Our model focuses on three crit­i­cal areas: market-led agri­cul­ture, health and well-being, and finan­cial empow­er­ment. Through this holis­tic, inte­grated model, Agros fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties are equipped to become suc­cess­ful farm­ers; gain cru­cial knowl­edge about per­sonal, famil­ial, and com­mu­nity health; and receive train­ing in how to man­age their finan­cial resources.

Agricultural land is at the cen­ter of the Agros model, and wher­ever pos­si­ble Agros helps farm­ers to estab­lish part­ner­ships that bet­ter enable them to mar­ket and sell their crops. For instance, at Brisas del Volcan in Honduras, farm­ers work with a cof­fee coöper­a­tive that helps them to process their raw cof­fee and also pro­vides a means by which to sell it. Working with this exist­ing coöper­a­tive helps ensure that farm­ers are get­ting the best price for their crops. In other com­mu­ni­ties such as Nueva Esperanza in Nicaragua, Agros is work­ing with their farm­ers on the legal and orga­ni­za­tional steps to set up their own cof­fee coöper­a­tive. In Bella Vista, Honduras, income from suc­cess­ful cof­fee crops once allowed a cou­ple of Agros fam­i­lies to pay off their land loan and become title hold­ers in under three years.

Coffee is a cor­ner­stone cash crop for many Agros fam­i­lies, and in many com­mu­ni­ties it is the first crop for income pro­duc­tion that is planted once they are estab­lished. As they wait for their cof­fee plants to reach pro­duc­tive matu­rity (about 3 years), they receive agri­cul­tural train­ing and inputs for other hor­ti­cul­tural crops, such as pep­pers, pasion fruit or peas. This then enables them to earn an income and add healthy food to their diets. Diversification is crit­i­cal to long-term agri­cul­tural suc­cess in the very rugged, remote areas where Agros works. It helps fam­i­lies to mit­i­gate the risks asso­ci­ated with farm­ing, such as nat­ural dis­as­ter, crop dis­ease, and other unex­pected calamities.

Who Benefits from this project?
Agros works in 42 vil­lages where farm­ers depend on cof­fee and other crops to make a liv­ing and sup­port their fam­i­lies. Agros exists to restore hope and oppor­tu­nity to eco­nom­i­cally mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple in Central America—people like Carlos and Marina.

When the Agros staff first met Carlos and Marina, they were liv­ing in the slums of San Pedro Sula, Honduras—one of the most dan­ger­ous cities in the world. They lived in a run-down shack on the edge of the high­way. On one side of their house cars screamed by, while on the other a pol­luted river flowed past. Marina lived in con­stant fear that her youngest daugh­ter Lizi, whom at the time was two years old, would either be hit by a car or drown in the con­t­a­m­i­nated water. They had a dream to buy land in a safe place. However, when they did so, they learned that their invest­ment had been stolen as part of a scam. They lost all hope for their future.

When they learned about Agros, every­thing changed. They moved to Agros’ Bella Vista com­mu­nity, where cof­fee is a sta­ple crop. This year, Marina, Carlos, and their three chil­dren har­vested their first crop. Agros is work­ing to reach more peo­ple in Central America with the life-changing resources of land, credit, and train­ing that will enable them to build strong futures for their fam­i­lies. As we com­plete our capac­ity devel­op­ment exer­cise, we will ramp up to a regional model, start­ing in Honduras, that will allow us to assist com­mu­ni­ties on a much broader scale.

How Can I Help?
Agros International’s work is made pos­si­ble through dona­tions from indi­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions, and cor­po­ra­tions who sup­port our mis­sion to end poverty. We wel­come any­one inter­ested to visit our web­site,, to make a gift that will help fam­i­lies gain the resources they need.

Our Alternative Gift Catalog has great ideas for smaller gifts that you can give in the name of a friend or loved one:

We invite indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions to spon­sor a table at our annual fundrais­ing event, Tierras de Vida (Lands of Life). Bring your friends and col­leagues to learn more about what we do and how you can be involved. This year’s event will be held on October 19, 2013, in Seattle, WA. Learn how you can help by going here:

Education is a crit­i­cal part of our work as well. We invite you to learn more about the work Agros does in Central America and tell your friends about the impor­tance of agri­cul­ture to poverty alle­vi­a­tion. To get started, watch this video to learn more about Carlos and Marina’s story:

Contact Name:     Anne Baunach
Location:     Seattle, WA, based; Central America Focused
Email Address:
Phone Number:     206.528.1066

Maternal Child Health and Education

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Pueblo 2Project Description
Pueblo a Pueblo’s Maternal Child Health pro­gram (MCH) is designed to reduce the excep­tion­ally high mater­nal and infant mor­tal­ity rates among the T’zutujil Maya in the Santiago Atitlán region. The World Health Organization reports that Guatemala has the high­est mater­nal mor­tal­ity rate in Central America.

MCH cre­ates a con­sis­tent, one-to-one part­ner­ship between inter­na­tional spon­sors and Guatemalan fam­i­lies, giv­ing moth­ers and their chil­dren in rural Guatemala cru­cial med­ical and edu­ca­tional sup­port through the most vul­ner­a­ble peri­ods of preg­nancy and birth through the age of five. MCH pro­vides this out­reach via a part­ner­ship with a community-based health cen­ter that sends social work­ers, nurses, and mid­wives into the com­mu­nity to work directly with families.

Pueblo a Pueblo ini­ti­ated MCH largely to address mater­nal and infant mor­tal­ity. However, most moth­ers par­tic­i­pate out of con­cern for the health of their new­born infants and young chil­dren. In a region where a typ­i­cal income is between $2 and $4 US dol­lars a day, many moth­ers face the dif­fi­cult choice between feed­ing their fam­ily and tak­ing a sick child to the doctor.

The high cost of med­ical care causes par­ents to hes­i­tate when they should act, some­times with deadly con­se­quences. Waiting too long to see a doc­tor has already cost the lives of two young chil­dren with pneu­mo­nia in the region in early 2013. When the cost of med­ical ser­vices is elim­i­nated and moth­ers are edu­cated about good health care, they take their chil­dren to the doc­tor at the first sign of ill­ness and get the treat­ment they need.

Education is a fun­da­men­tal aspect of MCH. Recognizing the signs of a seri­ous ill­ness or deliv­ery com­pli­ca­tions can be as crit­i­cal as hav­ing access to med­ical care, and know­ing how to pre­vent sick­ness and respond­ing to prob­lems quickly is equally impor­tant. MCH gives moth­ers (and a few fathers) monthly work­shops on top­ics like repro­duc­tive health, vac­cines, pre­ventable ill­ness, nutri­tion, hygiene, post-partum depres­sion, stress, and more. Social work­ers and other MCH staff work to define the train­ing top­ics while keep­ing the sched­ule flex­i­ble to address crit­i­cal needs in the community.

MCH work­shops often cover top­ics that have long been vir­tu­ally taboo in Guatemala com­mu­ni­ties, such as fam­ily plan­ning, pre­vent­ing sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease, and domes­tic vio­lence. Family plan­ning, in par­tic­u­lar, can be an extremely impor­tant, but volatile, sub­ject. In a com­mu­nity where fam­i­lies of eight or more chil­dren are not uncom­mon, fam­ily size can mean the dif­fer­ence between hav­ing food and mal­nu­tri­tion, health and ill­ness, and edu­ca­tion and illit­er­acy. When fam­i­lies have good infor­ma­tion, they can make bet­ter choices for their own future. MCH makes it pos­si­ble for women to receive Depo-Provera shots and other family-planning meth­ods in pri­vate. As well as obtain­ing the oppor­tu­nity to dis­cuss their options openly and safely with other women from the community.

MCH empow­ers women by teach­ing them how to over­come the lim­i­ta­tions caused by a lack of for­mal edu­ca­tion and mis­lead­ing tra­di­tional beliefs that have been passed on from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.

Pueblo 1Who Benefits from this project?
There are 60 par­tic­i­pants in Pueblo a Pueblo’s Maternal-Child Health (MCH) Program. Although mater­nal health is big part of the pro­gram, most moth­ers par­tic­i­pate in MCH to receive free or reduced-cost med­ical care for their children.

When your child is sick, you say to your­self, ‘Where can we find the money?’ We only have enough for a lit­tle food,” says Juana, a mother in the program.

Pueblo a Pueblo is expand­ing its MCH pro­gram with peer-to-peer edu­ca­tors. Early this year, Pueblo a Pueblo selected 20 MCH moth­ers with strong lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to be trained to share their knowl­edge with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and to men­tor new MCH mothers.

We want the women to become mater­nal health advo­cates in their com­mu­ni­ties,” says  Rosemary Trent, exec­u­tive direc­tor. “They become the mes­sen­gers. The trans­fer of knowl­edge goes from us to the moth­ers and from the moth­ers to their chil­dren and the com­mu­nity around them. That’s what leads to sustainability.”

MCH really empow­ers these women,” pro­gram man­ager Giorgia Lattanzi adds.

We’re teach­ing them how to over­come the lim­i­ta­tions caused by a lack of for­mal edu­ca­tion and mis­lead­ing tra­di­tional beliefs passed on from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.”

A MCH mother puts it more sim­ply: “The top­ics we learn about here have changed my life.”

How Can I Help?
One can help by becom­ing a Maternal Child Health Sponsor. Unfortunately, spon­sors are hard to come by, and the emer­gency fund – which cov­ers urgent issues like pneu­mo­nia, a baby born with HIV, deliv­ery issues, etc. – is very small.

Many peo­ple find it eas­ier to donate to some­thing tan­gi­ble, like build­ing a school,” Trent says. “Our donors must be the kind of peo­ple who can look fur­ther ahead and envi­sion build­ing a future for moth­ers and children.”

As a spon­sor, you have the unique oppor­tu­nity to make a real dif­fer­ence in someone’s life. Your spon­sor­ship links you with a mother and child or stu­dent in Guatemala. Your ongo­ing con­tri­bu­tions make it pos­si­ble to gain access to health care, edu­ca­tion, and a bet­ter qual­ity of life for chil­dren, their fam­i­lies and communities.

Contact Name:     Rosemary Trent
Location:     Bethesda Md USA
Email Address:
Phone Number:     202.302.0622

Giving Growers a Hand Up

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Growers First 1Project Description
Nearly 15 years ago, spe­cialty cof­fee roaster, Dave Day, was trav­el­ing through cof­fee grow­ing regions in South and Central America and observed the chal­lenges that farm­ing fam­i­lies were fac­ing. It became his pas­sion to work with these farm­ers to improve their qual­ity of life. With that pas­sion moti­vat­ing him, Day started the non-profit orga­ni­za­tion Growers First ®. This NPO uti­lizes agri­cul­ture, edu­ca­tion, and com­mu­nity net­work­ing as tools to help improve the qual­ity of life for impov­er­ished farm­ing fam­i­lies and empower them to become self-sustaining. It has always been Dave’s intent to “give a hand up instead of a hand out.” Over the years, Growers First® has been part of sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion in the lives of farm­ing fam­i­lies – changes that are both mea­sur­able and traceable.

Growers First® assesses the needs of a remote farm­ing com­mu­nity, then works to develop com­mu­nity coop­er­a­tives on behalf of the farm­ers. It trains farm­ers in agron­omy to enable them to rad­i­cally increase their crop yields, and works with var­i­ous non-profit part­ners to pro­vide med­ical and den­tal care, vehi­cles, micro-loans for farm­ers, and training.

Villages are being trans­formed into sus­tain­able farm­ing enter­prises, with long-term socio-economic and envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions asso­ci­ated with healthy and thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ties. This cre­ates sus­tain­able sys­tems, which pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant income to fam­ily farm­ers, along with health, edu­ca­tion, social, and envi­ron­men­tal improvements.

Not only does Growers First® do sig­nif­i­cant work on the behalf of farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties it serves, they also take inter­ested indi­vid­u­als with them for the pur­pose of edu­ca­tion and vol­un­teer service.

Day says, “Every time I take indus­try part­ners, sup­port­ers, and expert vol­un­teers on a trip to one of the coop­er­a­tives, we are over­whelmed by the evi­dence and sheer vol­ume of per­sonal and com­mu­nity suc­cess sto­ries.  Of course, we have the field assess­ments and data that track these trans­for­ma­tional won­ders, but I never grow tired of hear­ing farm­ers share their per­sonal sto­ries of vic­tory over poverty.”

Growers First® con­tin­ues to build life-changing part­ner­ships with the world’s impov­er­ished farm­ing fam­i­lies, empow­er­ing them to make their own way out of poverty through hard work and entre­prenueruial ingenuity.

Who Benefits from this project?
Impoverished farm­ing fam­i­lies liv­ing in remote rural com­mu­ni­ties around the world (cur­rently focused on Central America, with plans to expand to South American and Africa in 2014).

How Can I Help?
1.     Donate funds to Growers First® orga­ni­za­tion and/or projects.
2.     Participate in pro­vid­ing micro-loans for poor farm­ers.
3.     Donate goods and/or ser­vices that can be uti­lized by poor agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties. In the past, we’ve been part of donat­ing books, soc­cer uni­forms, cloth­ing, vehi­cles includ­ing an ambu­lence, wheel­chairs, etc.
4.     Join Growers First on a trip to learn about and serve remote, rural farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties (building/repairing/painting com­mu­nity cen­ters , schools, med­ical clin­ics, agri­cul­tural edu­ca­tion, form­ing com­mu­nity coop­er­a­tives, etc.).
5.     Visit our web­site ( or con­tact our office for more ideas (

Contact Name:     Pam Apffel
Web Site:
Location:     Laguna Beach, CA
Email Address:
Phone Number:     949.551.1085

A Call to Action

Categories: 2013, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

In look­ing at our sup­ply chain issues, there are many that deserve our atten­tion. Given the urgency of La Roya, I believe that there are some imme­di­ate steps that we as a Council should be think­ing about.  I men­tioned to a num­ber of Council mem­bers a book, writ­ten by Bill McKibben, enti­tled: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. McKibben is a Vermonter, and has an orga­ni­za­tion called ( He is an envi­ron­men­tal­ist who has done his home­work. In the first 20–30 pages of the Eaarth he describes how just 5 years ago, cli­ma­tol­o­gists had made a num­ber of pre­dic­tions of events that would unfold in the next 25, 50, and 100 years due to cli­mate change. His hypoth­e­sis is that over just the past few years, many of these pre­dic­tions that were recently made, have already come to pass. We are now on a dif­fer­ent planet than we were just a few years ago, and there is no return (hence the spelling of Eaarth with two “a’s). The cli­mate changes that are tak­ing place are tak­ing place at a much faster pace than any­one had predicted.

Why is this impor­tant?
Many farm­ers and agron­o­mists I have spo­ken with have sug­gested that the recent pro­lif­er­a­tion of La Roya is directly related to the increase in tem­per­a­ture in cof­fee grow­ing areas – just by a degree or two. Modeling that CIAT has done in Central America shows that with a very small mar­gin of error, that by 2050 the land area suit­able for spe­cialty cof­fee in Nicaragua, will be reduced by 70%, and that spe­cialty cof­fee will be grown at higher and higher alti­tudes. La Roya has often been asso­ci­ated with cof­fees grow­ing at some­what lower alti­tudes. It is mov­ing up the moun­tain, agron­o­mists have told me, due to cli­mate change.

I believe that the sus­tain­abil­ity of our indus­try is at risk, and that our focus as a Council should be to help encour­age col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts to help small-scale cof­fee farm­ers build resiliency, so that they can sur­vive La Roya and other events that may be headed their way. This involves sup­port­ing their efforts to enhance farm pro­duc­tiv­ity and reduce the impact of La Roya, as well as sup­port­ing their efforts to reduce their depen­dency on cof­fee as their only source of income.  Our part­ners (cof­fee farm­ing fam­i­lies) are so vul­ner­a­ble because so many have vir­tu­ally all of their eggs in one bas­ket – a bas­ket that they can fill, but have very lit­tle con­trol of since the price for their pro­duc­tion is largely set thou­sands of miles away. Like any of us, they deserve a qual­ity of life that meets basic needs, and more, allows them and their chil­dren the sta­bil­ity needed to advance in life.

Where do we start?
There are two fronts that need imme­di­ate sup­port: 1) agron­omy – sup­port to ren­o­vate parcels, along with the train­ing to keep their cof­fee plants healthy and pro­duc­tive. And 2) help­ing to pro­vide farm­ing fam­i­lies with the tools that they need to develop resiliency to SURVIVE in a rapidly chang­ing envi­ron­ment and an often harsh mar­ket. We all need the basics – food, water, shel­ter, etc. – to sur­vive. Encouraging our own com­pa­nies to take steps to sup­port these two areas is some­thing that we as a Council can take on together, while encour­ag­ing oth­ers to join us by advo­cat­ing for needed collaboration.

In Dominican Republic hundreds of people in white gathered to raise their voices and commitment to the climate crisis. The message conveyed was the threat of sea level rise to an island nation as Dominican Republic and was part of one of the 350 EARTH events happening worldwide, a week before the climate negotiations. This day, November 21st, will always be remembered as the day that Dominicans came together for Planet Earth, our only home.

In Dominican Republic hun­dreds of peo­ple in white gath­ered to raise their voices and com­mit­ment to the cli­mate cri­sis. The mes­sage con­veyed was the threat of sea level rise to an island nation as Dominican Republic and was part of one of the 350 EARTH events hap­pen­ing world­wide, a week before the cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions. This day, November 21st, will always be remem­bered as the day that Dominicans came together for Planet Earth, our only home.

La Roya at Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala; Photo by Rick Peyser

La Roya at Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala; Photo by Rick Peyser

When I was in Guatemala last week, trav­el­ing daily between Santiago Atitlan and San Lucas Toliman, approx­i­mately 80% of the cof­fee I saw showed vis­i­ble signs of La Roya. Some of the plants had weathered-looking yel­low leaves that were grad­u­ally falling to the ground, while most looked fright­en­ingly like skele­tons with bare branches, with just a few branches hav­ing a hand­ful of imma­ture cher­ries hang­ing on for dear life. I had the oppor­tu­nity to speak with a Mayan agron­o­mist work­ing in the area. He said that on aver­age 40% of the crop will be lost this year, and next year he believes the loss will be closer to 80%. That’s also an 80% loss of income for these fam­i­lies who have been strug­gling to sur­vive in bet­ter timers. How will they sur­vive now? The agron­o­mist said that fam­i­lies will do their best to cope with the sit­u­a­tion. The first step many will take is to keep their chil­dren home from school and to have them work on their farms – to save and use the money that would have been used for books and uni­forms to buy neces­si­ties like food. Even with this, he does not know how many fam­i­lies will feed themselves.

I believe that we are deal­ing with a nat­ural and human dis­as­ter that is grad­u­ally unfold­ing before our eyes that may have an unprece­dented impact on our busi­nesses and our part­ners. Big think­ing is required. Collaboration is required. Silos have to be torn down, and we need to work together as mem­bers of this Council and as respon­si­ble mem­bers of our indus­try, to help our busi­ness part­ners develop the resiliency they need to sur­vive and to PROSPER. If they are unable to weather this storm and oth­ers that are almost sure to fol­low, nei­ther will we.


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