When we got to the organic coffee farm in Atenas, dona Sole, don Gerardo, and Gabriel's brother Raul greeted me with great warmth. These folks are salt-to-the-earth people--they're genuine, patient, and kind. We're bonded by a rock-solid commitment to the same ecological and social equity principles. It's about a shared ethos that moves Primal Echo to support in economic and honorable trade, and this family through their organic farming, for better health for ourselves, our neighbors, and future generations and for improved ecosystems locally and globally.
To paraphrase something don Gerardo shared during our visit, we've all been bitten by that same bug, that sustainability critter that burrowed in our respective characters long ago, as we were being shaped into what we came to be.What a blessing that our paths crossed.
As Gabriel and this chiefmonkey were finishing our scrumptious lunches and homemade frozen dessert treats, another friend of the family's and fan stopped by. Brian and fiancee Alison had heard I was visiting, his in-laws were also in the 'hood, and he wanted to drop by. Brian writes a blog about their new life he and his fiance share in Atenas. I had seen a few photos that his fiancee took at farm and wrote to find out if I might be able to use them in our website that accompanied an entry he had written about the family farm, and they were immensely generous and said okay! (In fact, they told when we met that they have many more to share, so thanks again Brian and Alison! May your lives be lovely and full of adventure.
After much laughter and sharing with Brian, his entourage, and the family farm clan, I had an opportunity to spend some serious QT with the this Atenas family. I interviewed don Gerardo and Gabriel for a short donor raising video we're putting together for Primal Echo. We walked the farm, as they pointed out the many tree species they have that shade their coffee, the water holding mini-ponds they carve out for capturing heavy or light rains to irrigate more efficiently and prevent erosion, the piles of organic matter that make up their composting initiatives. They know every shrub, tree, and new voluntary plants on their highly biodiverse plot. Songbirds and birds of prey were flying above us, and on two occasions I got buzzed by two different types of butterflies. They've cataloged more than 40 different varities of these winged lifeforms and counting.
I was privileged to see huge trees planted when Gabriel was a teenager, and others that don Gerardo planted when he was even younger. I heard heart-yanking stories of don Gerardo's childhood spent picking coffee beans as a wee one. I learned of the health issues he faced in the days he farmed conventionally and the tipping point that led him to say no more to the toxins that impacted his health and risked that of his family. We all shared ideas and passions about educating the coffee consumer as to why organically farmed coffee was worth the health and the higher prices.
As dusk grew upon us amidst our lively conversations, we sat around the family table, dona Sole whipping out more yummy snacks for us of large chunks of ripe, cooked plantain drizzled with fresh sour cream, a gift to don Gerardo from his brother's farm.
We spoke of ways in which our respective endeavors could continue to work in transparent, collaborative partnership, the pounds of coffee they've set aside for us, and our grounded and lofty dreams of identifying properties that might allow us to set up the Lily Moon Sustainability Lodge project to benefit our coffee farmers, chocolate growers, artisans, and the children of Escuela Nueva de los Altos and others.We spoke of a coffee tour we'll be looking to set up for Primal Echo friends and customers.
With Gabriel, we spoke of ways that we could share with the world that their coffee would now be available in the States through our alliance, our line of Sole coffee, as we take the first steps to make that exciting organic coffee trading activity a reality.