On February 4th, 2017, over 50 members from the local community gathered in Conscious Impact’s garden. Woven mats lined the ground and cob benches. The coffee was poured and the doughnuts were frying. The moment was surreal. Countless hours of hard work from hundreds of volunteers had led up to this meeting. From the moment coffee was introduced, we were aware that there was an opportunity to provide sustainable income for the community through agriculture.
In January of 2016 the coffee green house was built. A beautiful structure with 20 foot tall ceilings and welded steel beams. The entire structure was fundraised and built with love from our volunteers. What followed was months of coffee care. Volunteers and locals combined spent days filling bags of soil, each receiving a small coffee seed. Once the trees began to sprout volunteers squatted for hours weeding the thousands of bags. The bags were then moved and spaced out to where they will mature. Every week they are carefully watered. After over a year of intense labor, here we were, with 8-10,000 coffee saplings and a community eager to invest.
Our agriculture team was nervous, hosting a meeting in Nepal is not easy. You can’t send out an Evite to the whole community and expect them to show up. Instead we spent weeks walking door to door and speaking to community members about attending our meeting. Who decided to show up would be a direct reflection of how interested our community was in forming a cooperative. The worry faded as dozens of community members arrived with smiling faces.
What was surreal about this meeting was being surrounded by the people we idol the most. The farmers we meet with every week, community members who bring us their fresh produce, the families who have been farming this land for decades before we were here.
We ended our meeting with those same smiling faces wandering through our greenhouse, admiring what has emerged of countless hours of hard work. Beautiful and healthy coffee saplings. Coffee and doughnuts were served with delight to all of our local friends and families. They politely told us the coffee was only good with nearly half a cup of sugar, the same way they drink their tea. They loved the doughnuts.
There’s a lot more work to come. We will continue to have meetings with the local community. We will provide them with proper training in tree maintenance. Our hope is to have a significant amount of our saplings planted by the coming monsoon season. That is going to be a lot of work for us and our community, but we are ready.
Thank you to all of our volunteers near and far who made this possible. To the dedicated people who provided our trees with water and sorted each coffee sapling to ensure it would survive. A special thank you to Elpis and Dora for supporting this project with your friends and family. This meeting was successful because you were here.
Written By: Bryce G. Tanner / Brycegtanner@gmail.com / Instagram: BryceGeralynn
Photography By: Jonathan H. Lee / Subtle Dream Photography / Instagram: Subtledream