In 2005, a group of six women members of the CESMACH co-op, all of whom managed and worked their own farms, banded together in an effort to integrate more of the co-op’s women members into educational workshops about coffee cultivation, and to highlight the contributions these women were making to the management and labor on their family farms while their husbands, many of which had emigrated to the U.S.A., held the title of CESMACH “member” on paper. They realized that in order to create more equity among the group and to empower these women in farm-leadership roles, this practice had to change.
By 2006, the grassroots group had grown to 23 women who had begun to formalize their memberships with CESMACH, becoming more involved in the cooperative and selling their coffee as “Café Feminino,” a mark indicating that it was produced by women smallholders.
In 2011, Café Imports green buyer Piero Cristiani was sourcing coffees in Mexico through our producer partners at CESMACH and saw that there were a considerable number of women producers dropping off coffee for processing. On the heels of the success of our Women Coffee Producer program coffee with CODECH in Guatemala, Piero presented the program to CESMACH, proposing that coffee from individual women producers are kept separate. The creation of the women’s lot incorporates a price premium, which is paid for those coffees in an effort to support these women who, more often than not, are single parents providing for their families.