Over the past five years San Lazaro Coffee has been cultivating relationships with small coffee growers who live around our farm in the La Botija mountains. Through these relationships, our goal is to support the humble families who have struggled for many years to have their own income and not depend on the abuses and extremely low salaries in the area. All of this has not been easy because the opportunities in these isolated mountains are very limited. Most farmers are forced to sell their coffee at a low price rather than it going to waste. This is how it has always been: the small, poor farmers, receiving false promises about their coffee and oftentimes payments up to a year late. This broken system leaves the poor farmers with great needs and even greater debts trying to survive.
San Lazaro Coffee has a moral commitment. In our business, we strive to restore and safeguard dignity for each one of our employees as well as the farming families that partner with us. One of those families is Darwin Gómez, his wife Yessica and their four young children. Darwin is 35 years old. He’s originally from the same mountain that San Lazaro Coffee calls home. He’s an honest and hardworking man, and he is one of the people who has been blessed to be part of the group of small coffee producers who supply us with their coffee. This means that he receives a fair price for his coffee, paid upon delivery.
It has not been easy since Darwin and his brothers were very young and they began to work in the fields (as is customary in the area), where they received poor treatment and poor compensation. Darwin was blessed with a small inheritance a few years ago from his father: about two acres of land which he began to plant with coffee, always thinking about the future. When he received the first crops, he saved his money and bought more land to continue planting coffee.
Since childhood Darwin has been hardworking, a discipline instilled in him by his father who taught him how to farm. This discipline has paid off. Today Darwin says he feels that God has blessed his hard work over so many years and that it was not in vain. Thanks to being able to sell his harvest to San Lazaro Coffee, Darwin’s family has a better quality of life, his children are now able to go to school and plan to attend the Lazarus Academy in the future. With great pride Darwin tells others about his partnership with San Lazaro Coffee, which has been a stepping stone for his family to be able to begin to dream and to ultimately chase those dreams.
This story is a simple reminder for all of us. Every dollar you spend goes somewhere and supports someone. Where do you want your dollar to go? When you purchase San Lazaro Coffee, you are helping people like Darwin and Yessica make a better life for themselves and establish a hope and a future for generations to come.