Alright, this has been in the works for about a year now and in Feb, 2011, Jacob and I are going for the first of many many trips to Honduras. It will be our first trip to origin, but there has been so much legwork leading up to this. We’re going to be in the Olancho Department of Honduras for 10 days living with and working beside the farming village of Linares. Their coffee farms were wiped out by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and their livelihood was destroyed overnight. They haven’t harvested since that storm and have been forced to live solely off of foods they can grow in their village. 22 coffee farming families have a chance to go beyond their previous productivity and launch into a new life for their children and their community. That’s what Safehouse Coffee is going there to do – we will not be buying their farms or putting them under constrictive contract. We are going to help them regenerate their coffee farms to quality and efficiency that will be competitive at the Cup of Excellence level. IHCAFE is already involved on a relational basis and solidifying the logistics of that is one of the goals of our first trip. We also have high hopes that we can partner with the GCQRI in any way so that the research and development in Linares can be a part of their larger goals of higher, more sustainable quality and higher, more profitable yields. In addition to these connections, we are also partnered with a literacy program and the Junior Master Gardner program (which has been so successful in Guatemala)from the Norman Bourlaug Institute in these efforts. The Linares farms can produce much more than we could possibly buy for our own inventory so another goal is to help them set up direct trade relationships with quality focused roasters. We are committing to this community for 7-10 years of hands on financial and labor support with every expectation that these relationships will span more than our generation. All of this must be accomplished in ways that are patently socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and economically sound and we will settle for nothing short of these goals.
We already have a man embedded in the village and this project will take, at the least, 3-4 trips per year to the village. Another thing we want to see is baristas, roasters, all types of coffee people really, to go on these trips with us – see what really goes into the coffee we all make our livings off of and get your hands dirty. We believe that the future (and much of the present) of the specialty coffee industry is truly in the hands of the baristas and roasters. What we mean is, more and more coffee company owners are baristas and roasters and they have brought a new echelon of focus and quality to the industry. How much more effective will we be if we make a move en masse to get involved at origin? Think about it – for only about $1,000usd, you could go with us to the farms in Linares for a week and change your knowledge of coffee from conceptual to experiential. That is a professional grade game changer.
To pull off the documentary that we will use to promote this movement, we have started a Kickstarter Campaign to raise a portion of the money. The campaign is for camera gear and travel but this doc is actually the first in a series of docs detailing the realities, both light and dark, of getting involved at origin. We hope that if our work has ever brought something to your attention, challenged your coffee assumptions, or even just made you laugh, that you would consider giving something to this effort through our Kickstarter. If you have no money to give, believe me, we can dig it – we just ask that you would spread the word far and wide through all of your social media and even within your own coffee customers. You can post this to your Twitter, Facebook and several other locations simply by clicking the icons below this post.
Questions are welcome so please let us clarify or expound upon anything you want to know more about. ~ Hunt Slade