This lot is a celebration of the work done in Santa Maria to restore and protect the biodiversity in “Parque Nacional Nevado del Huila”. This town of coffee producers was isolated from the rest of the world for years due to the conflict. Part of the mountain range in Northern Huila, it was a strategic corridor during the constant fighting between guerrillas and government troops. A troubled history, but it has turned a new leaf.
The Coffee Quest Colombia has been working in Huila with Santa Maria Station for years, developing projects with local partners La Victoria, Fusamdes and Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia to contribute to restoring biodiversity, clean water, reforestation and sustainable farming practices, specifically in the “buffer” area surrounding the National Park.
The initial connection was made through our Station partner La Victoria. A smallholders association, legally represented by the young coffee grower Andrés Perdomo, who happens to head the non-profit foundation Fusamdes as well. This foundation was born to preserve wildlife and natural vegetation and can be found in Santa Maria as well, Next to mapping the biodiversity, Fusamdes is fighting for a social and agro-environmental development in the local farmers economy.
The Santa Maria station is a central point in the infrastructure. Thanks to their support of La Victoria, we were able to build a small warehouse and a “cupping lab” which has become a local hot-spot for farmers and young people who are interested in receiving training about coffee quality. The Coffee Quest has seen a great interest and commitment from the local growers to the high quality of coffee. In this way, we were able to get closer to the community and generate more local impact.
The remote geographical location, as well as the isolation has kept the village away from outside influence. The coffee production here remained untouched for over 20 years. As a result farmers are still growing mostly old school coffee varieties such as Caturra and Typica (almost no Castillo), that are a much better fit for specialty coffee.
Los Osos “The Bears” as the name and the bag design suggest, is fully devoted to the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the “Andean Bear” and locally as Jukuamari, a protected animal, which as been classified as “vulnerable” by IUCN because of the loss of habitat.
This “homage” is to help the local organizations to raise awareness among coffee farmers that certain agricultural practices can endanger other native species as well, like the spectacled bear, but also jaguars or birds.
We are happy to see the farmers in Santa Maria taking action towards sustainable practices! All the programs in which The Coffee Quest Colombia collaborates with Fusamdes and La Victoria, aim to eliminating the water pollution from the washing process, recycling waste products of the coffee production, organic or almost organic fertilization, reforestation of the farms with native trees and fruit trees to create more shade, bring back biodiversity to the farm and to improve soil quality. There is continuous activity on all fronts, by giving workshops, training, personal farm visits, financial aid to provide eco-washers (to reduce water for washing) and a nursery for growing young native trees.
In 2018 Fusamdes, with funding from the FAO and WWF, started a project to involve coffee growers with a farm in the “buffer zone” surrounding Huila Volcano. This was of huge importance, since even hectares situated within the natural reserve, were being illegally used for agricultural activities.
The commitment to their product flows in these farmers’ veins. The motivation of these farmers is what pushes us to find a home for each coffee. With a troubled past behind and hidden from the world, they now have the chance to invest in their future and even think long-term, and we are glad to be part of this.