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Seeds is an acronym that stands for Sustaining Environmental and Educational Development at Source. Our Seeds program was created to structure and define Counter Culture's monetary contributions to projects that are not coffee-quality-specific but still benefit our coffee-producing partners and their communities. To date, we have contributed a total of $24,963 to projects in 6 countries. We'd like to catch you up on the projects we have funded over the last couple of years through our Seeds program with an eye toward more regular updates of ongoing projects.
Our Fourth Project: Professional Series with Growers
Multiple growers and associations from Central America
Meeting in Honduras
Representatives from Honduras's COMSA, Guatemala's Concepción Huista, and Nicaragua's Cinco de Junio.
In July 2011, coffee buyers Tim Hill and Kim Elena Ionescu gathered around 20 growers and co-op representatives from Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala for a two-day workshop in Honduras. The event was comprised of presentations and discussions on topics including experimentation, soil fertility, compost production, variety separation, post-harvest processing, and trends in the consumer market. Participants had the opportunity to learn from one another in person, rather than having to hear anecdotes or conduct isolated research. The class size was kept small, and the material was taught and discussed in the growers' native language.
Our hope is to hold more professional series with growers in the future as, at the end of their time together, growers suggested follow up gatherings and spoke of the benefits of forming a committee to continue sharing best practices. These sorts of series are mutually beneficial, like many of our projects. As Kim Elena said: "I feel confident that, in addition to encouraging practices that increase productivity and improve quality, this event demonstrates Counter Culture's commitment to our partners and will in turn strengthen their commitment to us as a buyer." Read more about her take on the experience in the Origins section of our website.
Don't just take our word for it, here's what Sonia Vasquez from the Honduran cooperative COMSA, one of the attendees, had to say about the series:
It was important to come together with other Honduran organizations and those from other countries to talk about important topics and new technologies for organic agriculture. This motivated us to try various experiments to improve the quality of our coffees, ultimately achieving the sale of more than 40 microlots of producers from different regions. We have also trained technical staff and producers on topics like cupping coffee with the goal of orienting them about ways to improve their quality …. We are now starting a study and documenting the experience of 8 farms of producers from COMSA about 'The application of organic agriculture technologies to improve the coffee cup quality.'
This spring, we hope to collaborate on a similar professional series in Ethiopia which will focus entirely on organic agriculture. More on this venture soon!
'Til next week,
Recent Updates:
Our roasting and production departments will be closed on Thanksgiving Day—Thursday, November 26—and the day after. Orders placed after midnight Tuesday, November 24, will be held for roasting and shipping on Monday, November 30. Orders in transit may experience a slight delay, as the US...
Sustainability Manager Meredith Taylor visited East Timor last month. It was the first time anyone from Counter Culture has visited the country. Since 2002, coffee has been a major export for East Timor, and Meredith was excited for the opportunity to check out this under-the-radar origin. Read...
I started working in coffee a bit accidentally—happening upon a job as a barista until I "figured out what I really wanted to be." After a few years on the job, my former-boss here at Counter Culture, Kim Ionescu, suggested I apply for the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Sustainability...
As I've said in previous posts, 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, the customer support representative at our Philadelphia Training Center...
March 13–19, 2016 On this weeklong trip, students participate in each step of the coffee production process at origin—from harvest to export—and learn about the benefits and challenges of building long-term coffee relationships. The 2016 Origin Field Lab will cover the complexities of...