In the beginning, we bought "sustainable" and "fair trade" certified coffee because we believed this was the most ethical choice in purchasing coffee beans. But, upon getting to know farmers in Costa Rica -- especially our friends Don "Beto" & Don "Chuey" -- we realized that, while we were doing okay, we could do so much better. We've come a long way since then, but there is still so much more to be done.
Project Eden's goal is to disrupt the current coffee supply chain by working directly with farmers and buyers, providing teaching, coaching, and a place to connect the grower to the buyer. We educate farmers on the best coffee growing practices and how to evaluate coffee for quality, which empowers farmers and buyers in bi-cultural business transactions to know what their coffee is actually worth.
While it all began with our connections in Costa Rica, our goal is to bring Project Eden to our coffee suppliers around the world, building relationships in each of those places. Our hope is that the Project will serve as a model for coffee businesses and will become the standard for all types of businesses founded upon multi-cultural transactions.
Many coffee businesses fall into a rhythm of complacency. "I know I did when I first started out," Don confesses. "I had all the right certifications that make the consumer feel good about their spending. But it wasn’t until I walked dirt with the farmers that I understood that, as the dollar trickles down, the grower and picker really don’t fare much better."
"My intention is to work where I walk and walk where I work. This guarantees integrated sustainability and profitability for our growers and buyers."
With every decision, we aspire to demonstrate what it looks like to always be asking: What can our small business do to empower rather than exploit? What do we stand for, and would you be able to tell?