Coffee nursery in Belladere, Haiti
When you sip on your morning cup of coffee, how often do you think about where that coffee came from?
Perhaps it briefly crossed your mind before, but have you really considered the stories behind the coffee bean farmers and the places they live?
Food for the Hungry (FH) partner, Grace Community Church of Frederick, Md., is very familiar with the story behind their cup of joe.
A coffee farmer sorts out the beans.
After two years of focusing on child sponsorship and traveling to visit these children in Haiti, Grace Community Church felt a calling from God to become even more involved there. Leaders from the church met with Just Haiti and saw an opportunity to work with them in opening a new coffee growing center in Belladere.
Just Haiti is a non-profit organization that works with coffee growers in vulnerable Haitian communities. They purchase coffee beans from the 35 farmers at a fair price, then export the beans to the U.S., where they roast, package, market and sell the beans to U.S. consumers.
Just Haiti follows a “fair trade plus” model, so it goes beyond the fair price the farmers are paid. According to Matthew Johnson from Grace Community Church:
The other great part about this model is that after the coffee is sold in the U.S., the profits from the coffee sales are then reinvested back in to a community fund that is managed and run by the farmers and local leaders. This coffee fund not only benefits the farmers, but it benefits everyone living in the community. A 12 ounce bag of coffee costs around 12 dollars. But more than 60 percent of that money gets reinvested back into the community.
The church’s role in this project has been to significantly invest in the startup and to continually provide support to this farming community. In addition to financial investment and prayer, members of Grace Community Church worked alongside the farmers to construct the coffee nursery.
A coffee farmer waters his crops.
The church members continue to visit the community and forge strong relationships with the people there. Johnson tells us that before this project, the farmers and their families felt discouraged and forgotten. They have been very moved by the consistent care and follow-up from Grace Community Church. The people of the church have changed, too. This partnership has “transformed our relationships with Christ,” says Johnson.
This coffee project is certainly doing a lot of good, but just how good is the coffee itself? Johnson tells us that this international grade coffee has been granted the rating of “excellent,” and that they yielded a very abundant crop in their first year of the project. The coffee is high-quality, shade-grown, environmentally-friendly and organically-produced. Can it get much better than that?
To purchase coffee by the bag or in bulk, or to learn more about this project visit JustHaiti.org. This is just one example of the innovative ways that FH is working with partners like you and churches to end poverty around the world.