We started Just Coffee to work with Zapatista coffee farmers in Chiapas, MX when coffee prices were at an all time low. After meeting and getting close to some radical farm families, it was plain to see that the coffee market was doing them wrong. Returning to Madison we thought that it would be easy to get local roasters and regional importers to partner up with these folks. Turns out it was not.When we went back to Chiapas we walked to a fiesta nestled in a tiny hamlet in the mountains of Southern Mexico. We had no good news for the farmers there. “It’s alright because YOU will buy our coffee. You can sell it” the president of their new co-op said. And we agreed due to positive peer pressure and an intense desire to make a difference.
Back in Madison we became “reluctant entrepreneurs” trying to organize Just Coffee as people who had absolutely no business or coffee roasting training. Not only did we not have any training, we thumbed our noses at anything that smelled of standard business practices. The approach did not always work well, but it sometimes worked brilliantly.
Read the rest at Just Coffee Co-op
Go to the GEO front page