You are starting a journey that will take you back almost 300 years to Spanish colonial Puerto Rico where the smell of lush tropical forests combined with the captivating coffee aroma, framed the development of an agricultural economy based on sugar and coffee production.
Yet, today it presents one of the best opportunities to develop a prosperous, sustainable standard of living for many coffee belt communities through education and strengthening of specialty coffee production and exports, agro tourism, and the preservation of the historical and natural heritage.
The mission of Cafiesencia, an NGO (non-government organization), is to advocate and promote a holistic sustainable approach to the coffee belt where historic, cultural, socioeconomic, agricultural and natural values and activities are welcome to converge and combine efforts for the benefit of the communities of the Puerto Rico coffee belt and the greater good.
In 2011 Puerto Rico will celebrate 275 years of coffee culture.
Almost 300 years of coffee culture.
Cafi Cultura Puertorriqueña, Inc. (Cafiesencia) was founded in 2008 by a group of professionals, farmers, academics, community leaders and government employees, who identified the need to raise the quality of life of the coffee zone, valuing its agriculture, natural, historical and human capital and their premier product: specialty coffee, and implementing sustainable practices in the region.
This group of volunteers works together to fulfill the organizations mission – to promote a holistic sustainable vision of the coffee zone.
In 2009 Cafiesencia was granted the local tax exemption as an educational non profit organization under the code 1101 (4).
Cafiesencia started to conduct educational talks and “conversatorios” (community gatherings) in the coffee zone, southwest and metro area and started participating in local media and coffee industry and environmentalists events. Examples of these efforts can be seen in our website or our blog.
In 2009 the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities awarded a grant to carry out the project “Caminos del Café” (Roads of Coffee”) – the 1rst series of educational talks aimed at a primary target group of students and teachers in the public school system in the coffee zone. This tour focused on educating about sustainability, environmental stewardship, and the importance of achieving a successful coexistence of agriculture and conservation. The project spanned over two years, dozens of schools participated in the conferences. In addition, the metro area was also visited by the project and hundreds of people from different backgrounds attended the activities. And in a unique opportunity to bring Dr. Jane Goodall, the famous English anthropologist, to Puerto Rico, Cafiesencia coordinated her visit to the coffee zone. This visit had a major resonance among a myriad of audiences – farmers, workers, students, parents, entrepreneurs, government officials, retirees – they all came together in Castañer to meet and share with Dr. Goodall ideas on how to improve and preserve the coffee forest ecosystems. The visit was widely covered by mainstream media of the island and beyond. Record of all these activities can be found in the website.
Cafiesencia provides specialized seminars on sustainable coffee production, micro-enterprises and brands, consumer education, in conjunction with several institutions and individuals like The Entrepreneurship Center for Women in Puerto Rico’s Agriculture (CEMA) led by Dr. Gladys Gonzalez, Dr. Joaquin Chong and the Experimental Station (Coffee Waste Compost), both at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus, Agriculture Program at the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado, Dr. Libia Gonzalez, historian and researcher at Moralon, Focusing Heritage, the annual Puerto Rico Coffee Expo Event, and the Sila M. Calderon Foundation, among others.
Cafiesencia advises community leaders and farmers in proposal write up, business concept and historical and natural conservation priorities.
Cafiesencia is a member of the advisory board of Pathstone Corporation for green projects.
Cafiesencia conducts educational tours to the coffee zone and coordinates events like the Spring Equinox where opera singing was integrated with the observation of planets and globular clusters celebrating the purity of the skies of the coffee zone.
At the moment, Cafiesencia is finishing its first book: “The Roads of Coffee” – based on the educational tour – it is a guide to help teachers in the subjects of history, science and social studies. It will be published during the last quarter of 2011.