Dean and Oro Verde, the coffee co-op we´re working with here in Lamas, have just reached a historic agreement - the first written long-term (i.e., multiyear) Fair Trade contract between a roaster and a co-op. Way beyond a higher price, this agreement spells out a series of mutual projects - in the areas of product diversification, marketing, environmental protection, and community development - that Dean and Oro Verde are going to do together. With the help of Dean and Oro Verde, our study group will write a draft of this agreement, and research and explain every element of it - the economic, social, environmental, and cultural issues and personal stories that lie behind the projects. In this way, we will help make visible to our colleagues and friends in the North the previously invisible lives of the growers. We´re psyched!
Well, there´s a lot more to tell, but no time to tell it just now. I ended up spending over a month there in Pangoa, from November 21 to December 23, and learned a ton about cooperatives, coffee, organic agriculture, local ecology, and Fair Trade - among other things! You´ll hear it all in good time.