Recognising the dedicated farmers and agronomists for whom sustainable practices are more than just a farming technique, they’re a way of life.
Meet Luis Aroldo from Guatemala. If you visited his small farm in Santa Rosa you may not always find him there. Even though he has been producing coffee since 2005, and has been a part of our AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program since 2008, Luis divides his attention between nurturing the soil and nurturing the future. When watching him teach his primary school class, it becomes apparent that his passions as a coffee farmer and a teacher exist in symmetry. And this is a beautiful thing.
Even though he has been producing coffee since 2005, and has been a part of our AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program since 2008, Luis divides his attention between nurturing the soil and nurturing the future.
Here at Nespresso, we like to recognise the beauty and dedication in our industry. This is why each year we organise the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Farmers and Agronomists Awards, where we get a chance to shine the spotlight on select farmers and agronomists who have done inspiring work for their individual communities while focusing on sustainable practises alongside us in the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program.
For the 2016 awards, we invited seven pairs of exceptional farmers and agronomists from around the globe to take part in the award program, which took place this year in New York City. Winners got to see first-hand the impact of their work, and of course, have a bit of fun too. We chatted with Aida Cierco Corominas, our Sustainability Project Manager, who managed the organisation of the event alongside Nespresso US and accompanied the winners on their trip for the first time.
What were the initial reactions of the winners when arriving in NYC?
Complete amazement. These coffee farmers and agronomists have been working so close to the product for so long, it was nice to see them have first-hand engagement with their coffee and the consumer outside of their normal contexts. They saw their coffee everywhere: in French restaurants, Chinese restaurants, hotels and boutiques--and they were amazed and felt recognised.
Can you explain that transformation from the start to the end of the trip?
By the end of the week there was a beautiful confidence and they felt truly recognised.
What was one of the most impactful moments for you to witness?
It is really difficult to only mention one impactful moment of the week. but if I could mention two, I would say first, it was impactful for me to see the relationship between the farmers/agronomists and the coffee specialists in the boutiques. Here are two ends of the value chains--one at the beginning, and one at the end--coming together right before my eyes. Watching them connect over a shared passion was enlightening and encouraging. One job is extremely dependent on the other, and often we forget about the connection from the coffee field to the Nespresso boutique.
The second was the relationship between the agronomist and the farmer. It’s not just a professional collaboration, and not even like friends--they are like family. These two are always working together to accomplish the same goal: they want to thrive collectively. By the end of the week in NYC, I felt a part of this family. We even started a group messaging platform to stay in touch--sometimes it’s about coffee, but most of the time it’s just to check in, say hello, or even share a photo of what we’re eating. This is when I realised, it’s about so much more than coffee: it’s about community.
And this brings us back to Luis Aroldo. To him, farming is about much more than coffee too--it’s a social responsibility. He uses his knowledge about sustainable practises to motivate and teach children and adults alike to take a more proactive role as world citizens. Because of Luis, his small town now has a health clinic, a sports center, a waste water treatment station, and communal access to drinkable water.
This is a Nespresso coffee farmer. One who engages in fair trade initiatives, who actively contributes to the promotion of reforestation, who vigorously implements viable farming techniques to increase production and quality...but also one whose heart for sustainability overflows into his or her community. We are proud to be working with Luis and all of the other 2016 winners, and are anxious to see what growth the future brings through them...one seed at a time.