cup of jose guatemala


Cup of José: A Look at Rainforest Alliance Coffee and Eco-Tourism in Guatemala

Bonnie Hulkower traveled south of the border to Guatemalan bean country. Under the tutelage of the Rainforest Alliance she visited two of the coffee plantations that the organization has created a certification process for to investigate their successes and challenges. She visited La Asotea, a sprawling coffee plantation that also has its own coffee museum on site, as well as ADESC, an association of 68 small farmers in the remote highlands of HueHuetenango.

Both of these farms were notable for the methods they have incorporated to farm coffee sustainably, including practices to reduce waste and produce safe working conditions. These farms have also taken extra steps to protect the rainforest habitat that surrounds their farms, by planting other species for biodiversity and growing coffee under the canopy of trees. While in Guatemala, Bonnie also stayed in two eco lodges , Hotel Villa Colonial and Las Cumbres where she experienced firsthand the positive impacts that incorporating sustainable practices had on the attitude and behavior of staff. These plantations and eco-lodges were true examples of business that were following the three pillars of sustainability.

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  • Elvia Almachi, 32, holds a bundle of recently harvested Fair Trade-certified roses. Elvia has been working at Agrogana for 12 years, and has been part of the Fair Trade committee. She has two daughters, 9 and 12. Elvia and her husband Luis Alberto Villegas, also an Agrogana employee, both participate in the weekend adult school program paid by the Fair Trade Premium.
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