We have some awesome employees here at Counter Culture who think about sustainability not only at work, but in their own lives, as well. One of these sustainably-minded folks is Chelsea Thoumsin, a coffee buyer in our Coffee Department in Durham, North Carolina.
We have been purchasing coffee from the Salazar family’s farm, Finca Pashapa, in La Labor, Honduras longer than anywhere else—14 years as of 2016! We’ve always been drawn to Roberto Salazar’s sustainable agricultural practices and have learned a lot about organic farming from him over the years.
Although Burundi has been growing coffee for decades, great-tasting Burundian coffee arriving in the U.S. is a relatively recent development. Years of civil war and state control of the coffee industry limited farmers ability to focus on quality. Given this history, we were lucky to meet the president of the Kazoza N’Ikawa co-op, Germaine Simbayobewe, on our very first trip to the country in 2011.
In 2015, Kamavindi owner Peter Mbature received a Seeds grant for 600 macadamia nut trees. The trees, which produce an annual crop, were not for him and his family, but for workers at Kamavindi and surrounding estates.
In 2013, Counter Culture partnered with a professor and a group of Masters students from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University to study the impact of climate change and potential adaptation strategies for coffee farmers. In the summer of 2014, students went to three co-ops we work with: CODECH in Guatemala, ASORGANICA in Colombia, and CENFROCAFE in Peru. Using qualitative research methodology to gather information from farmers, co-op leaders, technical experts, and government leaders, the students researched the effects of climate change in those areas and recommended adaptation strategies.