Growing a Movement with FUDAM – Nariño, Colombia

Posted on January 15th, 2020

What does it take to grow a movement? For the association FUDAM (Fundación Agraria y Ambiental Para el Desarrollo Sostentible) in Nariño, Colombia, it takes a lot of passion, community, commitment, and forward thinking. Of course, great coffee helps, too—and FUDAM has got great coffee in abundance.

When FUDAM was founded in the year 2000, it had only seven members—smallholder producers who shared a vision of working in concert with their environment and community to grow and support a culture of sustainable agriculture. Today the association has more than 300 cafeteros who have achieved both FTO and Rainforest Alliance/UTZ certification, thanks to their ongoing dedication to using conservationist methodology, creating natural inputs, and honoring the land where they live and work.

“They stand alone because they’re doing their own, thing: They choose this way of organic cultivating because they believe in it,” says Sam Miller, one of Cafe Imports’ green-coffee buyers for Colombia, who pays regular visits to this and other groups throughout southern Colombia. “The can produce more efficiently and at a lower cost because they make their own fertilizers, they’re starting their own nursery. It’s a personal value—caring about the food, being stewards of the land.”

One of the ways FUDAM is continuing this sustainability movement isn’t found in the soil, but rather in the members themselves: The association has a strong focus on engaging young members to not only continue in coffee farming, but to continue to seek innovations that will help the whole community grow. “The younger generation is more apt to be involved when there’s care in how they’re brought up,” Sam says. “They’re engaged with the plants and they feel like they are the source of their whole way of life.” In addition to encouraging the next generation, FUDAM leaders are also devoted to lifting up the women members: As a result, the association has created the Manos de Mujeres mark to use on coffees grown by women farm owners. Through this mark, the association already guarantees that the women make a fair price for their yield; we are offering it to our customers as a part of our Women Coffee Producers program, which also entitles the women producers to a gender-equity premium on their sales price.

Our sourcing relationship with FUDAM only began in 2018 but has grown quickly, and we look forward to cultivating a stronger connection to these growers over time.

Look for the best of Nariño in the cup with FUDAM’s fresh lots, which just arrived in our U.S. and U.K. warehouses: cooked berries, rich caramel, lemon and lime, brown sugar, caramel, and smooth cocoa.

Click here to search for our current offerings from FUDAM, and join the movement yourself.