While wandering the streets of Guelph, Ontario, we were overwhelmed by the smell of roasting coffee, coming out of the door of Planet Bean, a local Small-Mart fair trade organic coffee roaster, operating out of one of Guelph's many charming old stone commercial buildings. They introduced us to a new twist: Cafe Femenino, an initiative of some of the poorest women in Peru. It involves them growing their own coffee, keeping it separate from other coffee and keeping the revenue generated through its sale in their own hands. "This is remarkable since these Peruvian women would normally be passive and marginalized by the men around them" commented Bill Barrett of Planet Bean Coffee. "They live in isolated homes, cook over open fires, carry their water, look after children, work their farms and are under the control of their husbands. Women in these rural areas are said to be at a 70% risk of sexual assault. They have few resources, no support network limited education and no control over the household income."
Sabina Hernandez Queva of Agua Azul in the Peruvian Andes
"Cafe Femenino is their proactive plan to change their lives and the lives of their children. At Planet Bean we have decided to fully support their efforts and get people buying their coffee" said Barrett. The coffee is organic and certified fair trade by Transfair Canada plus the women are paid higher than the official fair trade price. Part of that goes into a separate fund which they administer for community projects.
Planet Bean is a co-operative, "meaning we put job creation and democracy into our bottom line, " Down the street from the roaster, they have a lovely cafe where one can buy the coffee or try a cup. Delicious, served with care and intelligence. ::Planet Bean