Visitor Quotes...

“Don´t expect easy answers.  Do expect to learn a lot”. 

“It put a face to the farmers for me.  I got to understand first-hand the lives and struggles of the small coffee farmer—if only everyone could see the face of Fair Trade and its counterparts”.

“My morning cup of coffee will NEVER be the same. Thanks to the brilliant colors of the tropical butterflies, roar of the mono congo, and easy friendship of the farmers in Northern Nicaragua getting my daily caffieine fix will forever be a much more deeply satisfying experience”.

“I would tell (others) how amazing my (Nicaraguan) family was and how important Fair Trade is and to come and see it working first hand!  I will never forget the experience, not only because of the community and cooperatives, but because of the amazing individuals who were involved as well”. 

“I may never do something so radically different and isolated from my everyday life.  It was hard, but ´character building´, as they say”.

“It was amazing! I got a more complete picture of Fair Trade...and had a wonderful time in the campo and feel more inspired in my activism”.

“An extraordinary experience, a treat for all six senses, friendships for a lifetime, lots of laughter and hospitality without boundaries”.  (long-term volunteer)

Our rural community tourism project ¨The Fair Trade Coffee Trail¨ began over five years ago, at the peak of the coffee crisis. When the international coffee prices fell to historic lows in 2001, the crisis was felt strongly in the region of Matagalpa. It was in this context that cooperatives of small-scale coffee farmers began to look for economic alternatives. Thanks in large part to the funding and support of Lutheran World Relief our project was born, with the goals of:

  • Diversifying the incomes of our cooperative members and their families
  • Promoting fair trade while conserving biodiversity
  • And, increasing understanding between consumers in the global North and coffee producers like ourselves

The project is now run cooperatively by committees in five cooperatives located in four communities. We have received more than 1,000 visitors and continue to work on improving our standard of living and our environment. 

We seek to combine economic profitability with social and environmental sustainability, which means everyone is  responsible to help achieve our goals. All of our family members are involved in the project: we receive training and financial support through our cooperative; our children have received scholarships that ensure they stay in school, and both men and women are able to now access small credit loans.  

Our youth have been trained to serve as community guides for visitors and their families provide food and lodging in each of our communities. The income we receive from the project provides us with a vital supplement to the money we earn as farmers. It enables us to buy new shoes for our children, school books, and we continuously re-invest a portion of our profits in community selected development initiatives.

For all these reasons and many more Fair Trade means much more to us then earning a better price for our coffee. We look forward to sharing the exciting reality ¨in the field¨ with you!

 Photo Donation: Bridget O´Brien and Matt Kadey