This coffee comes from the fertile volcanic soils around Lake Atitlan in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. It is grown by a small Indigenous farmer cooperative, La Voz queClama en el Desierto (“The Voice that Cries out in the Desert”) has been certified organic since 1992. The cooperative was formed by members of the community to provide an alternative to migratory work as low paid coffee pickers on the large plantations. Today, there are 161 members of the cooperative with 61 being female-owned farms, a rare occurrence in the coffee sector. The typical land holding is less than three acres.
La Voz’s coffee trees are cultivated under a rich shade tree canopy that includes many trees native to the region. This canopy provides a home to a diversity of migratory bird species. The cooperative also practices bio-intensive agriculture supplementing the income and sustaining soil health with avocado, bean and fruit production.
The cooperative produces organic fertilizer and assist members with technical support and organic certification. The cooperative operates a process plant and marketing program. Ripened coffee is harvested by family members and other coop associates. Sacks of coffee cherries are manually carried to the communal wet processing mill where La Voz’s management oversees thedepulping, fermentation, sorting and patio drying.
The Highland Support Project's service learning program, Highland Partners, organizes tours of the cooperative as part of the travel experience.