CafeiCanto was an agroforestry project that surged from the proposal called Shade Grown Coffee Farmers as Bird Custodians: Multiplying social, environmental and economic opportunities for farming communities in Puerto Rico through Agroforestry practices presented by Cafiesencia to the USDA Forest Service.
It was directed towards farmers and residents of the Municipalities of San Germán, Sabana Grande, Maricao, Yauco and Las Marias located near the Maricao, Susúa and Guilarte National Forests, to build capacity in sustainable agriculture, shade grown coffee, water conservation and bird monitoring and reporting.
CafeiCanto also provided the opportunity for farms to be evaluated for agro-ecotourism potential. This Project initiated under a Cooperative Agreement between Cafiesencia and the USDA Forest Service.
This project is the first one in Puerto Rico to combine farmer’s communities education and capacity building in shade grown coffee sustainable agroforestry with bird monitoring and eco-agritourism opportunities. The Project evaluated 18 farms and trained more than 30 individuals. The Project also identified 44 bird species with 23 endemics in 15 farms.
TREES AND CORALS
By the end of 2011 Cafiesencia was awarded a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop the Arboles y Corales, (Trees and Corales) Project: Empowering Women Through Sustainable Agribusiness. The project integrated core courses in sustainable agricultural enterprises, education on the ecosystems of the watershed, computer and Internet literacy, strengthening the role of communities in sponsoring environmental and sustainable tourism principles. The project created a community radio program called “Life in the Watershed” (“Vida en la Cuenca”). It provided support for the project and served as a forum for residents and other interested parties of the watershed. Trees and Corals surpassed all its goals.
CAMINOS DEL CAFÉ
In 2009 the Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities, awarded Cafiesencia a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to carry out the project “Caminos del Café” (The Coffee Trails) – the first series of educational talks aimed 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 gave Cafiesencia a unique opportunity to bring Dr. Jane Goodall, the famous English anthropologist, to Puerto Rico. Cafiesencia coordinated her visit to the coffee zone, which had a major resonance among a myriad of audiences.
In 2011, Cafiesencia published its first book as part of the commitment with the Foundation for the Humanities. The production of the book named “Los Caminos del Café” (The Coffee Trails), entailed a wide range of research and was edited by Dr. Libia González López. Los Caminos del Café has been praised for its fresh visionary approach to the coffee industry and its sustainability, and the revealing of historical research in contrast with modern coffee farmers.