Pachamama Launches

April 29, 2011


by Jillian McCoy

In recent years, the US consumer market has become increasingly aware of the value of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a form of agricultural distribution inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s economic lectures.  Consumers receive fresh, local, organic produce while supporting the economic viability of small farmers.  CSAs connect customers to the people and land that produce their food, and offer farmers who traditionally struggle in an industry dominated by large-scale industrial agriculture, the means to sustain their business.  However not all of our favorite crops, such as let’s say – coffee beans – are likely to be staples in our weekly CSA box or found at our local farmers’ market.  For consumers eager to have this same direct connection with their coffee, RSF borrower, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, just delivered the solution.

Bringing the CSA model to an international scale, Pachamama now links coffee enthusiasts directly with small farmers from Africa, Central and South America. Earlier this month, Pachamama launched, the first large-scale coffee CSA.

Photo credit, Olaf Hammelburg, courtesy of Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

Connecting small organic coffee farmers with the large North America consumer market has been 10 years in the making. In 2001, the Pachamama Coffee Cooperative began organizing the membership and assembling the farmer-driven board of directors which governs the cooperative’s work. Now the 100% farmer owned cooperative is comprised of over 140,000 farmers in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.

Customers have the opportunity to sign up for a monthly or annual membership to receive home delivered coffee from a specific farmer of their choice. This coffee makes its journey from the farmer to San Francisco where it is roasted and subsequently shipped to individual households from Pachamama’s headquarters in Davis, California.

In line with the benefits of traditional CSAs, consumers can relish in the fact that all profits go back to the farmers themselves. Furthermore, long-term subscription to the CSA provides farmers with the stability to withstand market changes and secure the capital for the next year’s crop.

Of course we at RSF are thrilled to share this development of one of our community members but we’re not the only ones excited about The launch has received notable attention in publications such as The New York Times and The Huffington Post!

To learn more about the Pachamama Coffee Cooperative and to sign up for your coffee CSA membership visit

The Pachamama Coffee Cooperative is a borrower of the RSF Social Investment Fund. To learn how you can help support innovative organizations like Pachamama click here.

Jillian McCoy is Communications Associate at RSF Social Finance.

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