by Eleanor Aldous, Catalogue Intern
This year, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) awarded Catalogue nonprofit Pueblo a Pueblo the prestigious 2013 Sustainability Award for their Organic School Garden Project. Created in 2003, this award is bestowed on organizations, individuals, and businesses who dedicate their efforts to innovative, sustainable practices. Pueblo a Pueblo’s Organic School Garden Project goes above and beyond such criteria through their implementation of sustainable gardens that serve thousands of community members in Guatemala. The Project was created in 2010 as a way to ensure the nourishment and health of children living in rural villages near Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Funded by the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the Organic School Garden Project provides hands-on experience in garden-growing and teaches Guatemalan students and teachers how their choices affect their health, communities, and environment. The project diversifies the local diet of these rural, coffee-growing communities while simultaneously providing an opportunity to learn how to independently flourish in the future. Only three years after its creation, the Organic School Garden Project now serves over 1,000 Guatemalan teachers and school children and thrives in six different Guatemalan primary schools.
Pueblo a Pueblo’s Executive Director, Rosemary Trent, elaborates on the issues facing these communities:
In a region of the country where the production of coffee has become an increasingly important income generating crop and means for families to earn a livelihood, food security has become increasingly challenging…Coffee growing families are often unable to buy the daily staples they need for a healthy and nutritious diet. The impact of the lack of resources is severely felt in the rural areas of Guatemala, where chronic malnutrition is widespread. Local families commonly consume only staple grains like rice and maize. Good health depends on dietary diversity having access to nutrients like protein, as well as vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Food insecurity worsens during the ‘thin months’ los meses flacos, when money earned during the coffee harvest runs out, work is scarce and families can’t afford food.
As the Organic School Garden Project primarily operates in areas heavily dependent on coffee production, the SCAA Achievement Award is more than fitting. Established in 1982, SCAA is now the world’s leading coffee trade association, having contributed to the expansion and success of the coffee industry for over 25 years. The SCAA values innovation among other organizations where the production of coffee greatly influences their work; Pueblo a Pueblo demonstrates this through its program with rural, coffee-growing communities in Guatemala and their commitment to sustainability.
Founded in 2001, Pueblo a Pueblo formulates and establishes long-term solutions and projects dedicated to child education, health and nutrition in Latin America, with specific emphasis on Guatemala. Pueblo a Pueblo believes that meaningful and lasting change occurs through the direct involvement of those communities benefiting from such change. This belief allows these Guatemalan communities to provide a brighter future for generations to come independently and proudly after Pueblo a Pueblo’s initial helping hand. For more information on Pueblo a Pueblo, check out their Catalogue page here, and learn more about other Catalogue nonprofits working to improve the relationship between people and their environments here.