ASOBAGRI coffee cooperative on the mend


It’s not easy to see the silver lining when a disaster strikes, but nearly six months after the devastating landslide hit Guatemalan coffee cooperative ASOBAGRI a little bit of sun is starting to shine on the coop.

For those who may have missed our previous blogs or fundraising efforts over the last six months, the small Guatemalan town where ASOBAGRI has built their community and cooperative was hit hard by a landslide on September 20, 2011. Fifteen members of the community lost their lives, and many more worried they had lost their livelihoods with the destruction of the coffee cooperatives infrastructure. In response, a number of ASOBAGRI’s roasting partners – co-led by Vancouver’s Ethical Bean and JJ Bean – banded together to raise funds for ASOBAGRI’s reconstruction in late 2011.

This week the Ethical Bean office was thrilled to receive our second positive update from our partners at the ASOBAGRI coffee cooperative in Guatemala. Their letters and photos proudly reported that both the reconstruction of their administrative offices is completed, and that ASOBAGRI is on track to export their coffee again for the 2012 crop.

General Manager of ASOBAGRI, Baltazer Francisco Miguel, is happy to report that his cooperative and the community members it employs will be able to continue producing high quality coffee for export:

Knowing that we are not alone encourages us to continue our efforts to offer a high quality product, and allows us to keep the connection and relationship with specialty coffee markets. These connections and higher incomes from such relationships improve the quality of life for small producers and their families who rely on coffee as their only family business. 

We continue to recognize the efforts of ASOBAGRI in rebuilding their community and look forward to continuing our connection with them into the future. We further recognize the following local roasting, café, and retail partners for their fundraising efforts in 2011: JJ Bean, Blue Moose, Little Mountain , Caffe Motivo, Laughing Bean, Choices, Famous Foods, Stongs, and the East End Food Coop.

For those of you who read Spanish enjoy the full letter from Baltazar:

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