On the Road: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

For our Supporters, Friends, and Family:

With the coming of the holiday season, it’s due time to share with you our year’s achievements and shortcomings with the Water for the Americas campaign.  This is a letter that I have been anxious to write for months now and have finally found the appropriate time to share with you what we have been busy doing and more importantly, what your generous support as led to.

As some of you may know, we never did make it to Brazil this past summer.  Far from it, unfortunately.  After making it to Mexico City in early May, we had simply run out of gas money and decided to turn back and re-group in Los Angeles.  We put the van in storage, and began to reflect on our journey.  Though we missed our ambitious goal for Rio, we knew that what we had already achieved in North America wasn’t lost and yet rather found. 

But before I go into what we have been up to here in the US, let me summarize our trip in numbers.  I invite you all to review our more in-depth analytics on our journey online at www.waterfortheamericas.com and also our short video that we made to summarize our trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLrDRDz7O3o .  But for now, here are some numbers that may impress you!

Days on the Road: Jan 22, 2014-May 10, 2014: 109 days

Miles driven: 17,000 miles

Cities visited: 50 cities

Money raised for 3rd party philanthropy: $4,000

We realized early on while on the road that what we had envisioned the trip to be was in reality very different from what we had encountered.  We were impressed by both the lack of awareness on local water issues and yet also the hidden talent in water conservation and innovation that appeared to be facing similar obstacles that.  What we saw was an overall lack of concern about water, and an immature evaluation of water for our own societies.  Though many were able to acknowledge situations of world water poverty abroad, most people were unaware of water poverty and risk closer to home.  We learned quickly that without this vital awareness of local water concerns, blue action would be much more difficult to materialize.

And so began our focus of finding such blue, grassroots organizations in the cities that we visited.  What we found while on the road both surprised us and excited us for a hopeful future in water sustainability here in our continent and in the world.  However, we were also left with an overwhelming sense of work that must be done in order to see such progress happen where it is badly needed.

Now that our road trip has ended, a hefty load of work is beginning.  We have seen significant grassroots programs in both idea and execution phases, and Reach Trade wants to keeping doing its part too.  Through the unique lens of our Water for the Americas Campaign, we at Reach have become even more determined to be another key player in the blue movement.  More than before, we sense that our role in this movement is most helpful in a) our ongoing investments in general water education as well as b) our investigations in water sustainability in coffee and cacao. 

Since our tour, Water for the Americas has witnessed the power of our youth through education.  A noteworthy project is our partnership in Detroit with a charter school called Experiencia Preparatory Academy.  Since February, we have been working with students from grades 3-8 to become more in-tune to water-related issues throughout the Americas.  Following our campaign, these students faced a horrific water crisis in their own homes as hundreds of thousands of lower-income Detroit residents faced water shut-offs during the hottest months of the year.  Many of our students themselves lost access water in their own homes and become a very crude awakening to a crisis that in the spring seemed so far away from a city situated on the world’s largest source of fresh water!  These revelations inspired Water for the Americas and Experiencia to continue working together this school year to keep water awareness as a hot topic both in and out of the classroom.  Together with a small group of inspirational Detroit teachers, we have been busy crafting perhaps one of the first blue curricula for elementary students in the US!  Last year, these students partnered with the best-selling, Mexican rock band Mana to donate a nanofilter for a school in Guadalajara that lacked access to potable water.  And this year, students at Experiencia and new partner school Escuela Avancemos are undergoing several service learning programs to demonstrate the power of water sustainability.  One of the lessons that these kids are learning this year is urban gardening.  By learning of the benefits of vertical aeroponic gardening, the students are now managing their own water-smart gardens in their classrooms and are fund raising with Reach Trade to widen the scope of their service learning programs.  I strongly encourage you all to follow their programs both on our campaign page at www.waterfortheamericas.com as well as on their very own classroom blog here at http://theurbanfarmers.weebly.com/.

At Reach Trade, we have also decided to commit to a new mission in water sustainability.  As we continually strive to improve coffee and cacao sustainability on the farms, we are constantly reminded of the water challenges that both crops face.  Water is also a very tough topic in these regions of the world, and a topic that seems widely misunderstood.  While on tour, we have discovered that our efforts to achieve water sustainability in our industries will be our most valuable asset in igniting the blue revolution.  As we begin to now invest our 5% of sales into making coffee and cacao more water-friendly, we also hope to demonstrate the value of water sustainability as blue leaders in our own industry as well as to help encourage others to follow suite with their own efforts.

So as another exciting chapter closes at Reach Trade with our Water for the Americas campaign, yet another one begins.  As always, none of our efforts could have been achieved without your ongoing support for our company and our non-partisan campaign.  Our tour showed us that water matters more than we even though before, but that it’s something that will continue to take time to change.  We are grateful for our ability to do our part, and we pray that we may continue to go above and beyond to fulfill our own commitments for a water-sustainable future.

A Blessed holiday season and year’s end to All!  Let’s bring in 2015 with bigger hearts, wiser minds, stronger hands, and brighter spirits.

Best,

Reach Trade and the Water for the Americas Team

Posted on December 19, 2014 .

“A Film About Coffee” by Brandon Loper

I had the opportunity to sit in for the debut screening of Brandon Loper’s documentary, “A Film About Coffee”.  It’s safe to say that the motif of the film could be understood quite easily.

Brandon Loper did a unique job in letting you in on his coffee world, and it took him three years of hard blood, sweat, and tears to do so.  It shows, I assure you.  Plus, he himself was there at the front door of the Vista Theater-unbeknownst to many prior to show time-scanning every single guest’s e-tickets.  Class act, Brandon. 

And the film?  It’s artistic, it’s glamorous, it’s simple.  One could argue that there is plenty of appeal to our new-age coffee community here in the US!  Why you may ask?

Loper himself describes it as a sentimental love letter.  Those are the man’s words, but I would suggest that by love letter he means an hour-long romantic getaway of coffee lure and coffee love: a Platonic Coffee Symposium where the masters are asked the questions about their trade that they never get tired of answering. 

I won’t be long-winded.  I’d rather you catch the screening at a venue near you, or look out for it on Netflix and Beyond.  Here’s the trailer:

 

And here's the official homepage for screening dates, news, and more:  http://afilmaboutcoffee.com/

 

Cheers!

Posted on July 26, 2014 .

The Nursery

Coffee germination.

Coffee germination.

Coffee – that aromatic and flavorful beverage – begins and ends with a large, round seed.

Close up look.

Close up look.

There are two methods for growing coffee. In one method for growing coffee, hundreds of seeds are planted in sandy soil covered by a moist burlap sack. When the seed germinates, the sand allows the roots to easily grow straight down while sending the sprout growing straight up. The sprout is then moved from the sand to a nursery bed full of closely monitored soil. The coffee begins growing in the shade but is eventually fully exposed to the sunlight as it strengthens. After several months, the little seedling will measure about 20-40cm tall and is ready to be planted out in the field.

Nursery bed.  

Nursery bed.  

Germination to "mariposa" stage.

Germination to "mariposa" stage.

In the other method, each seed is planted in its own black polythene bag. Each bag contains a special mixture of soil, manure, composted coffee pulp and other vital nutrients that will aid its growth. Just like the method, when the plant reaches 20-40 cm, after about 3 months, it is planted into the field. 

The following pictures were taken at Selena's sister's farm, the Finca Santa Teresa, which is adjacent to Selena's farm. 

IMG_1091.JPG
Seedlings in their individual bags.

Seedlings in their individual bags.

IMG_1072edited.jpg
IMG_1064edited.jpg
The nursery.

The nursery.

Posted on July 15, 2013 .

The Lost Dogs of Peru or Lost Bailey?

IMG_0922.JPG
IMG_0915.JPG
IMG_0914.JPG
IMG_1109.JPG

I'm sorry for not posting in such a long time. Somehow the internet managed to escape me during my last few weeks in Peru. At first, it was down in Villa Rica because of rain storms, then when I returned to La Merced, I discovered that the internet was down in the entire state of Junin. By the time it was up again, we were back in Villa Rica and there was no time to stop in at the cafe to use the wifi. We were going at full speed in order to finish up everything before I headed back to the US. 

Fortunately we got a little extra help in the form of my dad, who was able to come visit me during my last week in Peru. It was so nice to show him all the places that I had been and spend the week just hanging out with him. Plus he was able to help me with quite a few things. For one, he actually has a lot of practice with the Canon 7D (unlike me), and was able to give me some advice on how to improve my pictures. (Of course, right at the end of my trip...) He is also extremely observant and was constantly pointing out and explaining the reasons behind various contraptions and constructions of buildings. Without him there, I wouldn't have noticed or understood nearly as much. And lastly, he's pretty good at understanding a language he doesn't speak. There were definitely a few times during the week that my dad understood things in Spanish that I didn't... and he only knows a handful of words in Spanish.

IMG_0381.JPG

He definitely brought a whole new perspective to my trip and I couldn't have been more thankful that he came. While h was there, he took pictures of everything. His favorite subject, besides motorcycles, were all the unleashed dogs roaming the streets of the jungle. I swear that every time we saw a dog, my dad whipped out his phone to take a picture.... which basically means that he never put it away considering that there was always a dog somewhere nearby. My dad then decided to name them the "lost dogs of Peru" because they always seemed to lack an owner or a home. 

Later, when I was talking with my dad about the unfortunate internet situation, he suggested that I too was lost like the dogs. And maybe I was a little lost in Peru due to my lack of internet connection, but in all honestly, I think the title is actually a more fitting description of my first few days back in the US. 

IMG_1231.JPG
Here's my dad on his first day in the jungle with Jose and his crew of workers.

Here's my dad on his first day in the jungle with Jose and his crew of workers.

I definitely got hit with a serious case of reverse culture shock (if that's a thing). After spending 6 weeks in Peru, I suddenly found myself back in Ohio, on a fairly empty school campus where no one was speaking Spanish, I could flush toilet paper down the toilet, and I didn't have to carry around a 20lb backpack full of camera equipment. Just listening to my friends talk about their past 6 weeks of summer research in the lab was a huge change from talking to farmers about their crops being destroyed from the roya, their struggles with climate change, or their lack of clean water. It took me a few days to readjust to life in the US but now I've found my focus for the next few weeks. 

I'm on to shorting through my footage in order to create a few short documentaries about our past month in Peru. The first video, which is about our water project with the Asháninka, is almost complete. Once that's finalized, I'll move on to creating videos about the roya, rains, coffee and farmers.... so stay tuned. I hope that these videos can help me share everything that I have seen over the past six weeks.

This is my first foray into documentary making, and I've learned a lot about what goes into making a good video along the way. Unfortunately, I can already say that there are a lot of things I wish I had filmed while I was in the jungle.

But there's a simple solution to that...

I think the country is calling me back.... 

Posted on July 7, 2013 .

Return to the Asháninka

Our second trip to visit the Asháninka was full of adventure. When we first arrived, the Mercedes (the village shaman), along with her son and one other man, brought us over to the place where we had installed the water filters. I filmed as Mercedes filled a glass with water and drank it down in one long sip. Afterwards she smiled and held up the glass for the camera. I couldn’t help but chuckle – of course she would do something like that. She’s such a charismatic and personable woman yet I can tell that she cares deeply for the health of her village. During my first visit I ended up getting sick and puking… she rushed over to me and explained that the combination of foods that I had eaten that morning had caused my sickness. She started rubbing and squeezing juice from a small piece of orange over my arms and stomach while explaining that it would help cool off my hot skin. Then during this visit, she talked about how important the cleanliness of the water was to the health of her village. She shared how many people in the village didn't understand the importance of boiling their water before drinking it and were suffering from illnesses as a result. 

I listened to Mercedes, her son, and the other village leader talk about the filters as I drank my own glass of water. We wanted to know what the community members thought about the filters, whether they had been using them successfully, and whether or not we should go ahead with plans for the bio-sand filter. Afterwards, Paul and I, along with some of the other village men, walked up the mountain to the water collection tanks. This was my first time to walk up the mountain to see these water reservoirs and it really helped me to understand what Paul and Oliver had told me during the last trip.

After walking to the water reservoir, we had time to sit down with the village chiefs and some of the other village members to talk more about the water situation. We also stopped by the home of Mercedes to talk to her about water and her role as the village healer. Mercedes invited us to eat lunch with her family. We sat down on the floor of her home and shared potatoes, boiled plantains, and armadillo meat. Well, actually, I was advised only eat a potato due to my weak stomach, so I watched everyone else eat! 

The experience was something I will never forget. I’m not sure how many more times in my life I will be invited to take off my shoes and sit down to in the bungalow of a village shaman and share a meal with her and her family. 


 

IMG_9833.JPG
IMG_9904.JPG
IMG_9834.JPG
IMG_9890.JPG
IMG_9893.JPG
IMG_9869.JPG
IMG_9936.JPG
IMG_9918.JPG
IMG_9898.JPG
Water holding tank.

Water holding tank.

Posted on June 26, 2013 .

My First Water Project

Oliver with Roberto, a little boy in the village. 

Oliver with Roberto, a little boy in the village. 

girls.jpg

On Wednesday, Jose Jorge brought Paul and Oliver (Dan’s younger brother) to a village of the Asháninka, an indigenous group, to learn about the water situation in their community. The community grows and harvests coffee for Chanchamayo Highland Coffee and Jose knew from his relationship with the group that they needed help with their water.

The village leaders brought Paul and Oliver on a walk to show them how the community gathers water. A little ways up the mountain, amongst a thicket of bushes and trees, a small stream trickles down the mountain. As the water flows downward, it is collected by pipes that are buried in the ground. The water flows from the pipes into a small concrete tank where it passes through another tube and into another adjacent basin. The flow of water between these two basins is controlled by a value. From this collection tank, the water is sent down the mountain through pipes to a large concrete reservoir that measures 3m x 3m x 3m. From this reservoir, the water is piped to one of the fourteen facets around the village. The two main water spigots are constructed from thin PVC pipes and are located near the center of the village. One is completely exposed; the other is shaded by a little thatched roof. (The entire community is constructed in a similar manner – the people live in small wooden bungalows with thatched roofs scattered about the area.) This collection method is fairly effective for gathering the water that the community needs; however, the water does not go through any type of filtering process. It's consumed straight from the facets and is causing the children and adults to get sick. After testing the water, Paul and Oliver were able to determine that the water is full of bacteria and other viruses.

I was in Lima with the rest of the Reach Peru team when Paul and Oliver visited the community. They told us about the community’s water situation so we were able to buy simple carbon mineral filters to help improve the water immediately. I brought these filters with me on my return journey to the jungle on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, Paul, Oliver, a water engineer, and I headed back to the community to install the filters. The community greeted us warmly and invited us to sit down and make ourselves comfortable while we waited for everyone to gather together. As people started trickling over to the gathering area, the tribe leaders sang and played a song on their drums and everyone started clapping along in rhythm together.

When everyone had gathered together, Oliver lead a question and answer session about water and also explained some important information about water cleanliness and hygiene. In the meantime, Paul and the water engineer headed up the mountain to look at the water reservoirs and make plans for building more effective water filters in the long term.

After the Q&A session, Paul and Oliver, along with the help of the some of the leaders and the children, installed filters on the two main water sources in the community. These water filters will remove any bad bacteria or viruses in the water. (I filled my water bottle and drank the water and haven’t fallen sick yet, so I can say that the water is up to par with my weak stomach!)

We will return to the community later this week to check the progress of the filters. Then we can begin making more solid plans for the construction of a large bio-sand filter that will be able to clean all the water for the community. 


Everyone gathering to watch Oliver install the filter.

Everyone gathering to watch Oliver install the filter.

paultightenfilter.jpg
kids.jpg
lookingatspicket2.jpg
watching.jpg
womandrinkingwater.jpg
takingadrink.jpg
drinkingwater.jpg
Posted on June 11, 2013 .

Drying Beds

Beginning the drying beds

Beginning the drying beds

The first bed is taking shape

The first bed is taking shape

Since the onset of the rain, Jose, Bailey and I have been stuck at the factory.  To take advantage of our time, we’ve begun the construction of multi-layered drying beds.  These beds will be used to dry our specialty grade coffees via ‘natural’ and ‘pulped natural’ processes.  Below are some progress pics of our beds:

Three local carpenters re-enforcing the structure

Three local carpenters re-enforcing the structure

The beds are located in Jose’s greenhouse, and they will be ideal to experiment in processing the unique coffees that we’re finding.  Some of the interesting results of using ‘natural’ or ‘pulped natural’ coffee processing is that we’ll be able to reveal different attributes of the beans.  By avoiding any fermentation process, we’ll avoid the use of water and also carefully dry the beans within their silver-line skin and varying layers of the coffee cherry’s mucilage, allowing for unique displays of complexity, smoothness, and sweetness to develop in the bean.  For more info on these processes and their benefits, follow this link for a concise overview:

http://www.coffeeresearch.org/agriculture/flavor.htm

Like the other farmers we’ve been in touch with, Jose sees a bright future in Peruvian specialty grade coffees.   We’re all driven to change the face of Peruvian coffee quality. 

It’s time for Peruvian coffee to flourish.

Paul

Structure is now right-side up

Structure is now right-side up


On comes the mesh bed

On comes the mesh bed

Done.  These beans will be the first of several test-runs.

Done.  These beans will be the first of several test-runs.

Posted on June 10, 2013 .

Rain

It’s been 10 days since my arrival to Peru.  Work has begun on our first container of coffee, and we are moving ahead. 

Times are tough in the central jungle.  For everyone.

We’re facing unusual tropical storms that are jeopardizing this year’s crop.   As if the roya wasn’t enough, I’ve been speaking to farmers that have lost as much as 70% of their first harvest.  The combined threat has put many into desperate measures as we struggle to live, pay off loans and stay out of harm’s way.  With the onset of the storms, we’re seeing more cases of bacterial infection and other sickness.  For several days now, Jose, Bailey, and I have been stranded in La Merced, with country roads impassable due to weather conditions or mudslides. 

But there’s hope.  There’s always hope.

Jose and I managed to collect several sacks already.  This coffee hails from several indigenous communities belonging to the Asháninka tribes of the Amazon.  In their own struggle to grow out of object poverty through cultivating coffee, I’ve been impressed by their work ethic, their values, and their culture.  We as Reach have decided to undergo a project to bring all 68 families-250 people- into a new world of clean water and sanitation. 

Within a day of our decision, we’ve installed several basic carbon mineral filters.  These filters will serve us as educational devices to begin now the vital process of training the community on the valuable difference that clean water brings, and yet also the added responsibility it demands.  That same day, I was put into contact with a local architect with wide experience in water and sanitation development.  We are devising a plan to implement larger bio-sand filtration tanks that will service every household faucet in the community and provide enough water for daily clean water use in consumption, cooking, washing, and bathing.  Clean water is something that this community hasn’t seen for many years, but it doesn’t stop there. 

It appears that this community represents the forefront of a movement among the many Asháninka tribes in the region to slowly become culturally appreciated and economically integrated into modern societies.  If we execute this program well, the leadership of this tribe could translate into a chain reaction of socio-economic empowerment throughout the central jungle; something that this tribe recognizes and vows to achieve.

Time will tell us how this story unfolds.  Unfortunately, the story of the Asháninka carries with it many twists and turns.  Just two weeks ago, on the 26th of May, a nearby tribal chief was murdered, allegedly by several members of a neighboring logging company following a land dispute.  This has triggered a split among the tribes with one side contemplating armed resistance.  For the Asháninka , war cannot be the answer, but many here believe it is the only way to have their voice be heard, and their land won against illegal logging operations.  Again and again, I’ve been hearing of the travesties following the years of terrorism with the Senderos Luminosos (The Shining Path).  We’ve heard too many accounts of bloodshed, arsine, rape, displacement, and the kidnapping of children for conversion into child soldiers.  Their stories make history real, their lives even more precious, and our mission that much more necessary.

The world cannot lose the Asháninka.  As a people, they are among the most culturally diverse and undiscovered remaining on Earth today.  Their rich culture and the economic opportunity they’re working towards can provide us all with treasures, like the specialty grade coffees that we are trading from them.  And with the development in clean water, we hope that the Asháninka can enrich us with their coffee and culture for many years to come.

Today draws to an end, and finally it seems that the sun is coming back to us.  Tomorrow at 5 am, we begin again.  Weather permitting, we’ll make it to the farms tomorrow.

We move ahead.

P

Coffee for Clean Water.

      

Empty bins.  Stuck in La Merced under corrugated rooftops waiting for the tropical storms to pass. 

Empty bins.  Stuck in La Merced under corrugated rooftops waiting for the tropical storms to pass. 

The Asháninka people of San Miguel showing off a small jar of their Specialty-grade coffee.

The Asháninka people of San Miguel showing off a small jar of their Specialty-grade coffee.

A young Asháninka girl as she waits to taste purified mineral water for the first time.

A young Asháninka girl as she waits to taste purified mineral water for the first time.

Posted on June 9, 2013 .

The Market

We're driving down a street lined with a hodge-podge of booths selling everything from meat and vegetables to clothes and DVDs. Edison pulls the car to the side and stops. I step out and am instantly absorbed into the activity around me. My ears fill with the sound of blue and white moto-taxis honking vigorously at one another as they attempt to squeeze their way down the crowded street. Over the clamor, I can hear a vendor shouting out "ceviche! ceviche!" to every passerby. I follow Edison down the street. My vision is overwhelmed by all the motion and colors before me. Vibrant paint decorates every booth, umbrella and sign. Everywhere I look, I see a different array of fruits and vegetables glistening colorfully in the sunlight and every step brings a new smell drifting towards my nose. At one point, we pass a stand of freshly cut flowers and I breath in the lovely aroma. The next moment, we're walking by a lady chopping up chicken and I scrunch my nose at the smell, and sight, and the de-feathered animals hanging upside-down at her booth. That's when Edison turns toward me to ask how I like the "mercado peruano."

Not like Walmart, eh?

 

market1.jpg
market2.jpg
market3.jpg
marketbowls.jpg
womanwithflowers.jpg
womanwithflowers2.jpg
mototaxis.jpg
Posted on June 8, 2013 .

Back in Lima

I returned to Lima to meet up with Paul, who arrived in the city earlier last week. We have spent the last few days creating an outline for some short videos that we are going to film about Reach Trade's journey this month. The videos will cover everything from our water projects in various communities, the farmers we work with in La Merced and Villa Rica, and our journey to gather and export our first container of coffee. 

I'll be leaving to go back to La Merced on Wednesday, but until then, I've been hanging out with the Reach Peru team, which is comprised of Edison, Renzo and Greccia. Edison and Renzo are both hilarious, I'm constantly laughing at their jokes, or, (I hate to admit) when I don't fully understand what was said, I still find myself laughing at all their different expressions. Greccia is the third member of the team. She's only eighteen but she's a hard worker and her vibrant personality is contagious. Now that I've met everyone, I realized why I've come to love this company so much - it's made up of a variety of people with different personalities, yet everyone works together so well. But in reality, this isn't just a group of work friends, its a family.

 

Posted on June 5, 2013 .

The Bus Station

I shivered a little in the chilly night air as we stood outside at the bus station. It was almost 8pm and I knew the time had come for me to take my seat on the bus along with the other passengers. I turned towards Selena and she opened up her arms to me. I stepped forward to hug her warmth enveloped me as she wrapped her arms tightly around me. I heard her softly whisper "cuídate" in my ear. I pulled away and the light from the bus station spilled across her face. I could see my own sadness reflected in her big brown eyes. I already knew that I would miss her during the next week that we were apart, and I could see that she felt the same. I had spent the past two weeks living with her at the finca and during that time, she had become my Peruvian mother, and I had become one of her children.

I watched her hug her son Jose and I could see a great sorrow fill her face. The lines around her eyes that normally turned upwards with her smiling face were weighted down with sadness. I knew she loved her sons more than anything and I could only imagine that every parting must break her heart a little more than the last. One night I had asked her if living in a different place than them was difficult, and she exclaimed that it was the most terrible thing in the world. (Her sons Diego and Jose live and go to school in Lima for the majority of the year, while she stays in Villa Rica to manage the finca.) I had seen how happy Selena had been during the last ten days that Jose had been back helping at the finca. Every moment she was with him, she was happy and full of energy. Fortunately, Jose would return to the finca in two short days after taking care of some business in Lima while Selena stayed behind with visitors at the finca. 

I waved goodbye to Selena one last time and stepped onto the bus. Jose followed shortly after and we took our seats. A few minutes later, the bus drove out of the station and we were on our way to the city. I leaned my head against the window and closed my eyes. We were about to spend the next nine hours winding our way through the bumpy roads and up over the mountains in order to get back to Lima. I fell asleep quickly, but my sleep was troubled and restless. I woke up a short time later and peered through the foggy window. All I could make out in the blackness of the night was the dark and blurry figure of an enormous mountain beside us.

I willed myself back to sleep and spent the rest of the ride falling in and out of consciousness as the bus bumped over the rocky roads.

Posted on June 5, 2013 .

Why Coffee?

When I first joined the Reach Trade team, I couldn’t help wondering why a few young guys from Wooster, Ohio would choose to start a coffee business.

From what I’ve gathered over the past few months, it all started with Dan and Paul’s shared desire to give clean water to those without it. They both realized how basic, yet necessary clean water is to leading a productive and happy life. They decided to create a business that would dedicate a portion of all sales to clean water relief efforts. And then they decided that their business would use coffee, the world’s most popular beverage, to fund water, the world’s most vital beverage.

And as they travelled into the jungle of Peru to build relationships with coffee farmers, they saw that there was work to be done here as well. Right now, they are helping farmers improve their lives by helping them improve their coffee. They know that Peru has the potential to produce exceptional coffee, and now they want to show the world.

So it is as simple as that: Social beverage for social change. Every time that you drink a cup of Reach Trade coffee, you become a part of the story of Selena, and of Jose, and of Peru.

Posted on May 27, 2013 .