Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pacamara, Ihcafe90
Juicy and sweet with rich winey overtones, brown sugar and ripe plum.
“As women we believe that we can do things differently.”*
The Women at the COMSA farmer group in Marcala, Honduras are amazing. They are environmental activists, problems solvers and passionate coffee lovers.
The coffee leaf rust crisis that plagued coffee farms all over the world hit Honduras, destroying portions of COMSA’s crops since 2013. It was the women who got together to figure out what to do. “It turns out we have everything: rabbits, turkey, hens... watermelon, tomato, cucumber, onion, cantaloupe,” says Joselinda Manueles, a member of the coop. “We realized that we had so much to sell, so the organic market was born.” Every Sunday this farmers market provides delicious, organic, local food to the community and generates income for the farming families.
Land ownership for many women farmers across the globe is a challenge, due to legal and cultural barriers. “Usually a woman can only own land if she is a widow,” says Maria "Dolores" Zalaya. “I told my husband, ‘Give me a piece of land...with the (official) papers.’” Ownership increases women's ability to make decisions and contribute to the family income.
ORGANIC AND BEYOND
Many COMSA women practice biodynamic farming, which incorporates all aspects of the environment and a particular focus on the phases of the moon. Each lunar phase corresponds to a unique energy that can be strategically applied to farming rhythms. In the new moon you work with the soil, and in the full moon coffee is flowering, fruiting or ready to harvest.
Joselinda sums up the creativity, results, and mindset that represent the women farmers of COMSA:
“We are cultivating life.”
*Quote by: Miriam Elizabeth Peréz Zelaya, coffee farmer and member of COMSA farmer group,
pictured below with Equal Exchange Coffee Buyer Carly Kadlec.