Rio Azul Cooperative
Floral Aroma ~ Cinnamon ~ Hints of Mango
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The northern areas of Guatemala surrounding the Huehuetenango region have long been a source of great tasting coffees, and the Rio Azul is no exception. This small cooperative has been Fair Trade certified for over ten years, but even with this certification they came upon hard times in the early 2000ís.
With membership numbers plummeting to critical points, Ramon Delgado took the reigns as Managing Director of the cooperative. On a chance meeting in Antigua he crossed paths with One Harvest creator Phil Beattie. At the time the One Harvest Project was in itís conception phase and the Rio Azul situation provided a blueprint for how the program could assist the estates and cooperatives that it works with.
Rio Azul is a relatively small cooperative with just over 150 members. In the infancy of this relationship it was discussed with the cooperatives board of directors what the largest challenges members faced, it was unanimously decided that the funds to acquire decent medical attention were. So an initiative was set in motion to address this issue. Meetings were held with a local doctor who was willing to take on the issue, and the One Harvest Project provided a grant of $5000 dollars per year which gave each member the opportunity to have medical, vision, and dental attention from the local doctor.
This relationship has continued to blossom over the years, with the support of the One Harvest Project the cooperative has been able to increase the number of Certified Organic producerís in the cooperative which helps the local ecosystem. In addition they have implemented a water filtration system at the wet mill which better preserves the integrity of the local water supplies.