This allows them to feed their families consistently, and it also empowers farmers to thrive in their own business.
“As Christians, we want to work with people who help to equalize the playing field,” says Kathleen. The farmers in the collective benefit from a direct trade model, which the Castelars refer to as “relationship coffee” because they work directly with the growers and know their names. This connection provides a supportive environment for farmers, who can work collaboratively with roasters and make decisions. The end result is rare and distinct beans that will satisfy the coffee connoisseur.
Nacho is one of the coffee farmers in El Salvador who supplies coffee to Firebat. He built his farm from the ground up in the early 2000s, collecting wild and abandoned coffee plants on a small plot of land. A few years later, he started planting an exotic variety of beans. With local support, he took the little that he had and submitted his rare coffee in national competitions – and he won several times. Each time, he reinvested his earnings into his farm. Nacho is now a successful farmer and his children can access post-secondary education. “Today, he is able to sell his beans directly to roasters and avoid the commodity market altogether,” says Leena.
Brenda Halk, CBM’s Senior Associate of Strategic Projects, says, “While tackling injustice in our world can seem like a daunting task, swapping out your morning cup of java is a good place to start. Coffee is something almost all of us consume. When churches serve ethical coffee, it’s a real simple way of educating people about the global issues behind something we consume every single day and don’t even think about.”