In the highlands of Ahuachapán in Western El Salvador, the Las Colinas cooperative manages a 500-acre organic farm. The farm includes a natural spring that provides water to thousands of its neighbors. Caring for it is a responsibility that Las Colinas takes seriously.
The cooperative has fenced off the area to avoid contaminating the water source. It is replacing annual crops on the steep hillsides that rise out of the spring with shade coffee to replenish and protect the water source. And it has invested in recent years in a wastewater treatment system that eliminates all the contaminants from the wet milling process and preserves the quality of water for folks who live downstream.
The next time you visit El Salvador, visit Las Colinas for its 400 acres of Borbon and Pacas varietal organic coffee. But while you are there, don’t miss the source within the source.
Name: Las Colinas (Asociación Cooperativa de Las Colinas)
Location: Tacuba, Ahuachapán
Elevation: 1000-1400 m
Volume: 1807 sacks (69 kg)
Certifications: organic, Fair Trade
Las Colinas coffee is exported by APECAFE and available in the United States exclusively through Equal Exchange.
Fyi to all,
Just after some of my colleagues finished a visit to Las Colinas* in October the co-op – and much of El Salvador – were slammed by a week of torrential rains – even though this is supposed to be the dry season.
Las Colinas alone lost more than $180,000 in destroyed infrastructure (drying patios, roads, other buildings), and lost coffee crop and grain crops, including 40-60% of the corn and beans grown by many members.
If anyone would like to see the damage report from APECAFE (the umbrella co-op that Las Colinas is a member of) just send me an email:
*Here is a lengthy blog post re our visit. It builds on some of what Michael wrote: http://smallfarmersbigchange.coop/2011/10/23/las-colinas-first-the-good-news/
Thanks for the note and the offer to circulate the APECAFE damage report. I posted it in reply to a query earlier this month from Colleen Bramhall at GMCR regarding their partners at Las Cruces.