In Spanish the word “Esperanza” means hope, so it is fitting that one of fair trade coffee’s most hopeful protagonists would be named Esperanza. Esperanza Dionisio Castillo leads Peru’s CAC Pangoa cooperative, a farmer-owned enterprise of some 700 campesinos headquartered east of the Andes mountains.
In January of 2013, I had the opportunity to go with Cafe Campesino on a cooperative tour of Guatemala. Sure, we all know Cafe Campesino makes great coffee and that this great coffee is traded in a way the best serves the farmers who nurture and grow the beans, but to actually go out and meet the people in this supply chain made a tremendous difference in how I view an already superior product and business model.
Our group on their first day in Guatemala. Included in this picture are Faith Fuller of Desktop Documentaries; Ronnie from the Sentient Bean; Richard Haas from Earth Natural Foods in Norman, OK; Bill Harris of Cafe Campesino, Sweetwater Organic Coffee and Cooperative Coffees; David Minich and Sissy Ledbetter of Americus, Georgia; Miguel Mateo of Manos Campesinas; Mike Weaver of Sweetwater Organic Coffee and Dave Campbell of Cafe Campesino.