A delightfully sweet and inviting cup with soft notes of cherry and vanilla, this coffee comes to us from the Women Producer program of the Campesinos Ecológicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas (CESMACH) cooperative. A premium is paid for these coffees in order to support the women producers, build equity, and to highlight their commonly undervalued contributions.
In 2005, a small group of women in the CESMACH co-op decided to band together with the intent of integrating more women into educational workshops on coffee cultivation. These women all managed and worked their family farms even though their husbands, many of whom had emigrated to the United States, held the official title of CESMACH “member” on paper. They felt that their contributions were not recognized and knew that changes had to be made to create an equal playing field for members of all genders. Within a year the group had grown from 6 to 23 women. By 2011, Cafe Imports had proposed that coffee from women producers be kept separate in the hopes that the premium price incorporated in would help support these women, many of whom were single mothers feeding an entire family. Now the cooperative has 224 women producers and continues to add more.
The CESMACH Women Producers are not looking to produce just any coffee grown by women, they also adhere to CESMACH’s quality standards and are pushing for that perfect cup. The story to tell isn’t only one of women rising up together to improve their lives and the lives of others; it is also a story of passion and love. These women have been working with coffee for most of their lives. They understand its viability, the need for focused labor, and the importance of management in terms of both time and money.
The premium added to these coffees has already done so much for the region. Extra funding from this program has been invested into community vegetable gardens as well as women's health programs. Because of the community's high rate of cervical cancer, a health initiative became a focus for the group, and with the help of Grounds For Health, they were able to provide examinations for 500 women in the region. We are big fans and supporters of the CESMACH Women Producers and their passion for empowering women and taking care of their community.