Treuhänderischer Gesellschafter Kaffeemacher GmbH, Einkauf Rohkaffee
Von Laura Meunier, Ensambles
Mexico is another coffee producing country, but not just. It boasts a real differentiator that the market often fails to acknowledge and value: it has preserved a lot of its biodiversity and a lot of its coffee is cultivated in forests, just like its original parent in Africa.
When most countries have taken the bet of monoculture, agro-chemicals, high yields and planet damage, many indigenous communities of Mexico have decided to keep producing coffee in native diversified polyculture systems, thus producing better but less food, in sustainable ecosystems.
However climate change is hitting the whole world and Mexican farmers are paying the price of it like any other farmer: rust and other pathogens are devastating, unusual extreme heat or rainfall create mudslides, fruit abortions, etc - making yields and quality more and more threatened every year.
Producers are quite resourceless in front of those new sudden challenges. The only current solutions are to overuse chemical fertilizers and pesticides and/or plant coffee higher in the mountains. None of those are sustainable in the long term, and coffee supply is severely threatened in the future.
We believe the solution is in creating more resilient ecosystems. However this is not an easy task. There are many stories about attempts of conventional farmers switching to organic and failing. That’s because organic should not mean low intervention and a bit of compost.
Nature has its rules and systems. We need to understand how nature works and create the harmony it needs to thrive.
The project is a collaboration between coffee growers of Zongolica of the Nahutl indigenous group in the state of Veracruz-Mexico, Ensambles de Cafes Mexicanos, a sourcing company focusing on environmental welfare, and Kaffeemacher, a roaster connected to the coffee consumers and dedicated to redefining quality in coffee.
It is a long-term project that consists in accompanying a group of small-scale growers to transition from low intervention agro-ecological farming with some use of pesticides towards regenerative agriculture.
The aim is that producers keep producing in agroforestry systems, and manage to fight external threats without the need to recur to synthetic inputs but rather through the resilience of the farm itself: by reinforcing the health of the soils, maintaining stable temperature in the farm, protecting the water, etc.
We will capitalize on the 12 year experience of Ensambles’ farm in Veracruz, El Equimite, which is Demeter certified and uses biodynamic philosophy and permaculture tools to produce crops in harmony with the native ecosystem of the region.
The ultimate goal if for the group of producers of Zongolica to be growing coffee and other crops using biodynamic agriculture within 4 years, and for coffee consumers in Europe to enjoy a healthy cup of coffee that would set the tone for a successful agriculture alternative.