Coffee Exchange co-owner Bill Fishbein, founder of The Coffee Trust (and Coffee Kids), has worked on sustainable development projects in Latin America for over 27 years. Over the last several years The Coffee Trust has created a comprehensive integrated sustainable development program in the Ixil region of Guatemala, one of the poorest coffee-growing regions in the world. The program combines support for education, health care, food security and economic development along with a strong capacity building component to promote sustainable development at origin.
La Roya Recovery Fund. When the La Roya fungus attacked Central American coffee in 2013, the people at The Coffee Trust adjusted their focus from general sustainability issues like health care, education and capacity building, ventilated efficient stoves and micro-credit programs for women, to life-and-death strategies to deal with the La Roya. Two main features, EMs (effective micro-organisms) which protect coffee plants from La Roya, and Food Sovereignty, where methodologies of planting and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables and chickens are handed down from farmer to farmer (compesino-a-compesino) by other farmers in the Mayan tradition.
Standard Coffee Trust sustainability programs are:
Earthquake Relief: Rebuilding in La Reforma, Guatemala
95% of our green (unroasted) coffee comes from Cooperative Coffees, a green coffee importing cooperative, comprising 23 community-based coffee roasters (including Coffee Exchange) in the USA and Canada, who are committed to building and supporting fair and sustainable trade relationships for the benefit of farmers and their exporting cooperatives, families, and communities.
Cooperative Coffees strives to promote transparent Fair Trade and Organic sustainable development alternatives in both the North and the South, while continuing to supply its members with the highest quality coffee on the market. Coop Coffees is recognized as a valuable resource and a major player in matters of support for coffee farmers, environmental and economic developmental NGOs, as well as roasters in the North. Recently, Cooperative Coffees has played an important role in working with Root Capital, Sustainable Harvest and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in dealing with the La Roya disease affecting Central America and adjacent areas in Latin America.
Grounds for Health’s mission is to create sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities, with the goal of decreasing the rate of cervical cancer.
Grounds for Health Goals:
Where coffee drinkers (consumers) combine efforts with other coffee drinkers to provide coffee farmers no-interest no-risk loans, enabling the coffee farmer to bring his coffee to market without exorbitant pre-financing expenses.
The majority of the world's coffee is grown by farmers tending tiny, remote plots of land, producing an average of 1,000-3,000 LBs a year of export grade green (unroasted) coffee.
Through Grow Ahead, retail coffee customers (consumers) conspire with other customers from the same roaster, to pool resources in $25 to $100 amounts, to provide no interest – no risk loan to coffee farmers, so they can bring their coffee to market without exorbitant pre-financing fees.