Producer Profile: ACMPASA Santa Anita

Written by Cafe Campesino on May 1, 2005 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |

La Asociacion Civil Maya de Productores of Santa Anita (Santa Anita) is an organic coffee and banana producer cooperative located on Guatemala’s Pacific slope between Quetzaltenango and Coatepeque at an altitude of approximately 4,000 feet. The association at Santa Anita is made up of 33 families of ex-combatants from the Guatemalan Revolutionary Unity or URNG.

With the signing of the Peace Accords, the association was able to purchase an abandoned plantation in February of 1998. Working collectively, the members have recovered the land’s production capacity. Approximately 65% of the 250-acre holding is in coffee and banana production – the remaining acres are either too steep for any type of cultivation or have been left purposely in a natural state to conserve the existing ecology.

The cooperative’s values reflect the URNG’s 36 year-long struggle to create a society based upon mutual respect and democracy. Now they are leading by example. Santa Anita has a “no-kill” environmental policy, which mandates that no indigenous animals within its confines can be killed. Additionally, their board of directors has to be composed of at least 50% women at all times. Free education and healthcare are provided to all of the community’s residents.

Projects in development at Santa Anita include an organic communal garden and a new ecotourism hosting program, which enables visitors to learn how coffee can be grown in harmony with the natural environment. The garden will supply members of the association with healthy additions to their traditional bean and corn diet as well as supply the ecotourism project’s new visitors restaurant.

In September, Café Campesino will return to Santa Anita for portions of Cooperative Coffees’ Annual Meeting – which will assemble representatives from the coop’s 17 North American coffee roasters along with representatives from all of our Latin American producers’ cooperatives together at this model farm!

Santa Anita is rated HB, which means hard bean coffee grown at an altitude of 1300 to 1500 meters. They are USDA Certified Organic by Mayacert and are registered with the FLO Fair Trade Registry.

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