Updated: Dec 28, 2022
During March and April of this year, Kristen and Eduardo were able to visit Colombia for the first time after the pandemic. Our plan was to re-establish ties with the Union for the Restitution of Land, a governmental organization devoted to sustainably bringing displaced victims of the conflict back to their rural homelands, and to visit specific communities, especially in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and in the south of the country. Terribly jet lagged but excited, we met with members of the organization’s cabinet In Bogotá the day after our arrival, and we learned about their mission and accomplishments during the last administration. On the vast table in the middle of the bright, 12th floor conference room in the heart of the city, our hosts had lined up more than 10 different coffee bags, each one beautifully packaged and from the restitution’s successful projects. Each one carried a story of hope, a story of coming home to beloved soil to honor it by caring for these generous, colourful bushes. Andrés Castro, the director of the cabinet at the time, explained that coffee stands at the second place after livestock farming in the restituted territories’ productive sector, and that coffee projects are expected to grow. This filled us with excitement, as we sipped an incredible natural-processed Caturra from the region of Nariño that had hints of sweet tamarind. They went on to explain that the internal market for specialty coffees is, unfortunately, quite underdeveloped, mainly because of price inaccessibility. Thus, although some families have been able to export to the US and Canada, for example, it is still hard for many producers to make a living from beans that are roasted and ground, which are the ones that can provide the most benefit. There are only a couple of barrios in Bogotá with clientele that could afford it! This is where Eduardo jumped in to explain our mission, to buy green coffee beans from these farmers at a price that is much higher than that offered by almost any other buyer. They agreed to put us in contact with families old and new, and we left exhausted (it was 1am for our poor brains) but satisfied and joyful.