With August just around the corner and temperature levels steadily rising, now might be the time to plan your summer escape. This year, how about exploring the forests of Nicaragua while supporting fair trade all at the same time?
Two Fair Trade coffee coops, CECOCAFEN and UCA San Ramon, have joined to develop an eco-tourism program that allows travelers to experience first-hand the “Fair Trade Coffee Trail.” Travelers visit several local coffee farms to learn the process of coffee production from start to finish, while staying in guesthouses on-site and eating their meals with the farmers and their families. The decision to start this tourism program was reached democratically by members of the cooperative and funded by portions of the social premium that fair trade farmers must use to invest in their community. It aims to give visitors a truly immersive understanding of how fair trade is both changing lives and making their cup of morning coffee so delicious.
Several certified producer cooperatives have used their Fair Trade premiums to get started in the eco-tourism industry. Eco-tourism and fair trade are a natural fit given that many fair trade crops are grown in the world’s most uniquely beautiful habitats and that fair trade farmers work to preserve the landscape and wildlife that call it home. Fair trade farmers are trained in safe, sustainable agricultural practices so they may become stewards of the land, which means a better tasting product as well as breathtaking scenery. The coops who have gotten involved with tourism say that the visitors who stay on their farms give them valuable insight into what buyers abroad are interested in as well as a way to diversify their income outside of agriculture, which provides financial stability for generations to come.
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