Guatemala ECWx Gildardo Perez
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DIRECT TRADE PARTNER
Finca La Florida
Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Cocoa | Dried Fruit | Apple
In 2018, we created a social impact event we call ECWx. It repurposes the format of the Extraordinary Coffee Workshop (ECW), our regular gathering of the sprawling Intelligentsia Direct Trade community, but diverges from the ECW script in two important ways.
First, ECW is open to big and small growers alike, but ECWx is open only to smallholder growers. This reflects our belief that smallholder inclusion can help drive social impact in communities where coffee is grown.
And second, ECW is only for people who are already part of the Intelligentsia Direct Trade community, while ECWx is only for people who are not.
That’s because we want ECWx to help growers on the margins of the specialty coffee marketplace overcome barriers to entry. Beginning back in 2019, we worked with friends at Catholic Relief Services and funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development on a plan to take the event to Guatemala. In January 2020, we managed to convene representatives from nearly one dozen smallholder farmer organizations in the country’s western highlands for ECWx Guatemala 2020, the third annual Intelligentsia ECWx event.
The organizations that participated represented thousands of families in dozens of communities. They were all impressive. But even at an event crowded with experienced community leaders, the three women who came from the storied coffee region of Huehuetenango in representation of Cooperativa Esquipulas stood out. So we were delighted, but hardly surprised, when Coopesqui sent us a standout single-farm lot from one of its members in 2020, or when it sent us another one this year from Gildardo Pérez, a coop member since 2014. If the quality of these two lots and Coopesqui’s leadership are any indication, odds are good that Coopesqui will still be on our menu next year even when ECWx Guatemala 2020 is a distant memory, and that is when we will know ECWx has been a success.
— Michael Sheridan
Director of Sourcing and Shared Value