LWR Farmers Market: Meet Gustavo

Gustavo’s farm is teeming with life.

There are dogs (including puppies), chickens, adult children, grandchildren — and there are coffee trees, which Gustavo says are the lifeblood of his farm.

“An old farmer once told me, ‘Take really good care of your coffee farm. That’s your daily bread.'” Gustavo explains.

There was a time when farming didn’t provide his family their daily bread. He says he used to work as a farm laborer, but that never met his family’s needs. So he worked hard to buy just over 8 hectares (about 20 acres) of land, on which he now grows coffee. Even then, he says, his family struggled. He used to sell his coffee to a middleman, who took most of his profits and left little for him to support his family.

With the help of people like you, Lutheran World Relief began working with Gustavo’s coffee cooperative, SOPPEXCCA, several years ago — helping farmers diversify their crops, better protect their environment and improve their coffee. Gustavo was a founding member of the cooperative and said it was founded so that farmers could get a better price for their coffee and provide for their children. He and other farmers have greatly improved their coffee crops by learning how to nurture a coffee tree so that it yields good quality cherries, how to wait for the cherries to turn bright red before picking, and now farmers have access to better processing equipment — like the wet mill Gustavo uses to remove the outer skin and pulp from his coffee cherries.

“Thanks to coffee, I now have bread for my children and grandchildren,” Gustavo says. He also explains that the formation of SOPPEXCCA has brought good things to his community. For example, the cooperative helped construct a building for the school that grew out of his very own home.

Whereas Gustavo used to work as a laborer on other people’s land, he now works side by side with his sons in his own coffee fields. “I’m very proud my sons don’t have to sell their labor,” he says.

To Gustavo, coffee is more than just a crop.

“Coffee gives us life. Coffee is medicine,” he says. “If the world is passing you by, enjoy a cup of coffee — then get back to it.”

Taste the care and hard work Gustavo, and the farmers of SOPPEXCCA, put into every coffee bean included in LWR Farmers Market Coffee.

Enjoy delicious, premium quality coffee directly from the farmers you support!

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