Colombia Part 2
Coffee farming in Colombia is hard. Of all the farms we have visited, I have never seen a farm that would be as difficult to work as any of the farms we passed in Columbia. The coffee region of Colombia is located in the Andes Mountains, which provides ideal soil quality (volcanic soil is the best soil) and altitude for coffee production, but at the same time requires that workers climb literal mountains every day planting, caring for and harvesting the beans. You cannot work a farm that is on an almost vertical slope with machinery… everything is done by hand. The first day we were there, Jesus took us on a tour of the smaller (and less steep) of his farms. We walked for about an hour, and by the end of the tour, every single person had completely wiped out somewhere on the hills, including Jesus himself. You stand still for too long, and your legs are completely destroyed by ants (no pesticides means lots of bugs). You walk too fast and you will definitely eat dirt. You step on a banana leaf that fell off the trees they use to provide shade for the coffee and you might as well come to peace with starting the hike all over, because you will not stop sliding until you’re at the bottom of the mountain. I now know all of those things from personal experience…
Most of the farmers that work for Jesus own their own small farms in the surrounding area. They work for Jesus for extra cash flow to help support their own coffee production. That means, for every hill they climb picking or taking care of beans for Jesus, there is another to climb once they get home. But for them, this is life! The people in the coffee region of Colombia are raised on coffee. Ask any seven year old and they’ll be able to tell you exactly how coffee is produced, from a seed to the cup. It’s amazing! They love coffee, and want to make it the best they can! The difficulty in Colombia, or any developing country for that matter, is how to make enough money to support yourself as a small scale farmer when there are large companies and competition that drive prices down. And that is where the government comes in.
In our next Colombia post, we’ll explain how the government helps farmers in Colombia earn a fair price for their coffee. Between now and then, we’d love for you to check out our Flickr feed for more pictures of our Colombia trip, and read more about our Café La Loma Micro Lots. Try it and taste the quality for yourself!Coffee Adventures