Jose Blas Ventura has a 4-acre farm called Huerto Viejo in the community of Aguasinga near where he lives with his daughters. In prior years, Blas has sold his family's coffee in cherry to the local middleman. For the last several years he has been working with Catracha Coffee where he has learned to use organic farm management practices. Now he uses lime to control the pH of the soil, fertilizes with organic compost, sprays organic fungicides to control levels of leaf rust, and has started pruning year-round. These actions have improved the health of the farm and the quality of the coffee. Blas uses his own micro-mill to depulp, ferment, wash and dry his coffee before delivering it to Catracha Coffee. Blas plans to use some of the extra income from the sale of his coffee to renovate parts of his farm and help his daughter continue to study agronomy at one of the best universities in Honduras.
Mayra Orellana-Powell founded Catracha Coffee Company to connect her Coffee growing community with roasters. Ten years later, Catracha Coffee has gained momentum with more than 80 producers and 20 roasters working together on sustainable relationships and a profit sharing model, which has consistently paid at least $2.00 per pound directly to producers. This extra income helps increase each producer’s capacity to reinvest in their farm, and overtime, increase their standard of living.
The sale of Catracha Coffee also creates income for a non-profit called Catracha Community (a 501(1)(c)(3) nonprofit), which invests in income diversification opportunities without taking resources from a farmer’s bottomline. Catracha Community hosts weekly workshops for women and youth to learn craft making skills. Like the coffee, the focus is on quality. With the help of talented volunteers, the group has been able to make many beautiful things and sell them through our network of coffee friends. They even have a name for the group, Catracha Colectivo. Catracha Community has also established an art residence and studio in Santa Elena to host artists from Honduras and around the world. These artists have been running art classes two days a week for over a year. Every week more than 30 children come and learn art. Art is starting to pop up everywhere around Santa Elena. There are more than 30 murals along the streets of Santa Elena, in peoples homes, and at many schools. During the COVID 19 pandemic, group activities have been suspended but women continue to make crafts and also masks to earn extra income. Artists have been visiting homes to paint small works of art on windows and doors. They have also been painting stools and selling them for extra income. Many families are also starting family gardens and trading seed to diversify their harvest.