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Costa Rica Community Lots Update 2023

One of the oldest and longest-standing initiatives in the DRWakefield project portfolio is the Community Lots Project in Costa Rica. 

Established in 2011, the Community Lots Project has supported coffee-producing communities in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica for over twelve years. The project was developed in collaboration with Coope Tarrazú, a regional cooperative working with coffee-producing families throughout Tarrazú. It is funded through premiums paid on associated coffees (listed at the bottom of this article). 

Last week, we were lucky enough to have Fabián Calderón visit us from Coop Tarrazú for Full Circle. We used this opportunity to catch up with him about the Community Lots project and learn how coffee premiums continue to promote and support well-being and development within the community. 

Fabián visiting The Gentlemen Baristas during Full Circle

Coope Tarrazú

Coope Tarrazú, founded in 1960, is a cooperative that has grown over the years to include more than 5000 producer members. What sets the cooperative apart is that it is still managed by producers actively involved in coffee cultivation, making up the board of directors. Therefore, the cooperative truly understands the needs and challenges its members face and can make decisions accordingly. 

Coope Tarrazú offers a comprehensive service package to add value to its members. This includes various benefits such as credit facilities, preferential price payments, technical assistance, agronomy support, organic fertilisers, and technical training. They believe in supporting their members at every step of the way, ensuring their success in coffee production and marketing. 

Coffee Production in Tarrazú

Community Lots Project

Over the last 15 years, Coope Tarrazú has witnessed remarkable growth. The number of partners has increased by an impressive 50%, while production has soared by an incredible 70%. The Community Lots Project was established to help accommodate this growth and contribute to the social development of the Tarrazú community.

During the initial four-year period, $33,000 was raised through coffee premiums to support numerous community initiatives. These initiatives included essential projects like repairing local roads and bridges, constructing a much-needed playground, providing assistance to schools, contributing to the renovation of a health centre, and enhancing the water supply in the area. The collective impact of this work has been transformative, as evidenced by a shift in the trend of young people leaving the region in search of employment opportunities elsewhere.

Repairing Roads in San Antonio, Tarrazú

With the improvement in local infrastructure, Coope Tarrazú redirected their focus towards bolstering the income of their valued producers between 2015 and 2018. Over these three years, an impressive $30,540 was raised and dedicated to this initiative. By investing in the prosperity of its producers, Coope Tarrazú aims to uplift their livelihoods and create sustainable economic opportunities within the community. Such efforts not only empower the coffee growers but also contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the region.

Workers Improving Road Infrastructure

Casas de la Alegria

Tarrazú has today transformed into a thriving region renowned for its coffee production. When harvest time arrives, around 19,000 pickers flock to the area, with an impressive 10,000 choosing to work for Coope Tarrazú. Recognising the importance of supporting these migrant workers, Coope Tarrazú launched a project in 2019 called Casas de La Alegria, which translates to “Houses of Joy.”

Casa de la Alegria

Nestled within the cooperative’s farm, Casas de La Alegria represents a remarkable social responsibility initiative aimed at improving the living conditions of agricultural migrant workers and their children. These “Houses of Joy” serve as care centres specifically designed for the children of coffee pickers who migrate alongside their families from nearby regions. Throughout the three-month picking period, while their parents work on the farms, these children receive proper care, nutrition, and recreation opportunities, ensuring their well-being. This initiative not only helps prevent child labour but also safeguards these young ones against potential risks they might encounter.

Workers and Children at a Casa de la Alegria

Since the introduction of Casas de La Alegria in 2019, Community Lots project premiums have generated over $35,850. This money has helped fund the building of 19 Casa de La Alegria houses, employing 51 staff and caring for 1100 children between 0 and 12 years old. The Casas de la Alegria houses also create employment for 58 women in the community.

The establishment of Casas de La Alegria demonstrates Coope Tarrazú’s commitment to fostering a nurturing environment for the families who contribute to their coffee production. By prioritising the welfare of these children and offering them a dignified space to grow and thrive, Coope Tarrazú is actively shaping a brighter future for the community and the coffee industry as a whole.

Associated Coffees

As Coope Tarrazú’s social impact work is wide-reaching and diverse, so are its coffees. We offer a wonderful range of coffees each year from this cooperative, many of which contain a premium that directly supports these powerful initiatives. 

Look below for our top picks or click here to explore the Community Lot range, and get in touch with the Trade team to order your sample.

San Lorenzo Natural

La Laguna Washed

La Trinidad Natural

San Cristobal Washed

San Francisco Honey