Colleen, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.’s Coffee Community Outreach Manager, recently traveled to Colombia to visit the region of San Lorenzo. Below is a report of her trip:
“I had the opportunity to visit an incredible community in San Lorenzo, Colombia with some of my colleagues from GMCR Canada. These are the farmers behind the delicious “Colombian La Vereda” product within the Timothy’s® World Coffee brand. Timothy’s® World Coffee has developed a relationship with the producers in these 15 veredas, or hamlets, over 10+ years of buying commitments and funding social projects. In fact, in 2006 they won an SCAA Sustainability Award in recognition of this relationship coffee model. As the manager of our coffee community outreach work, I was excited to meet the various actors along this supply chain and to see the impact of our partnership on the coffee producers.
I was moved by the pride of the Embera-Chami people who are native to this area as they displayed their “La Vereda” membership card showing they were producers of this exclusive, designated region of quality. They know they grow great coffee! Even the young people are showing interest in continuing the tradition, which is a good sign of a sustainable livelihood that is unfortunately becoming rarer in the coffeelands.
Our hosts gave us all sombreros aguadeños – the kind of hat you might see Juan Valdez wear – and we took off for the coffee farms loaded up on the roof of a truck. We were met at one village entrance by a parade of children who walked us past the school and into the community center – both construction supported with funding from Timothy’s® World Coffee – where we watched a cultural performance and heard from members of the community about changes in the community since the beginning of our buying relationship. We then had the opportunity to visit farmers in the area who described the improvements they are making in production practices and shared their concerns related to costs, climate change, and pests. Throughout the visit, it was clear that the relationship between the roaster and the producers was for the long haul.
Before the visit, I could talk your ear off about the tasty flavor profile of the coffee we call La Vereda – now, my story would start with these warm and welcoming producers in San Lorenzo. These are the kinds of communities where our sustainability funding can complement our commercial relationship to create something truly special.”
After their trip, Timothy’s® World Coffee produced and released the following video which highlights Gilberto, one of the proud leaders within this coffee growing region. To keep up to date with Timothy’s® World Coffee, follow their Facebook page.