Atlanta, GA – With the growing demand for Arabica coffee pushing prices ever higher, one would think that coffee farmers share in the worldwide coffee bonanza. The truth is quite different. The typical farmer receives less than 5 percent of his coffee’s retail value – barely enough to live on.
THRIVE Farmers has set out to change the difficult economics of being a coffee farmer. THRIVE Farmers is the industry’s first production, marketing and retail platform that brings the farmer’s crop directly to market. Coffee farmers and THRIVE work together in a joint venture that allows farmers to participate at each step of the supply chain – from harvesting, processing, and roasting, all the way to the retail sale of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. “THRIVE Farmers allows the farmer to participate as a business partner higher up the chain where the sales price is higher and more margin is available for all participants,” says Michael Jones, a founder and CEO.
The concept got its start when Alejandro Garcia, a fifth generation Costa Rican coffee farmer, saw that his family’s farm was at substantial risk of failure. He left Costa Rica to go work in the United States where he saved $40,000 over two years working in a family-style buffet restaurant in the Amish country.
Alejandro (Alé) came back home, invested his hard-earned money in coffee processing equipment, and by so doing, changed the trajectory of the coffee farming business. They key was a chance meeting with Ken Lander, an American who had retired to a coffee farm in Costa Rica in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. Both Ken and Alé were motivated to make coffee farming profitable, so they both opened up small coffee shops.
“We weren’t fully aware of it,” explains Lander, “but we were vertically integrating the supply chain by processing, roasting, packaging and then selling our own coffee.”
“We told our story over many cups of local coffee,” adds Alejandro. “The tourists were amazed to learn of the economic plight of coffee farmers. The farmers were amazed that it was possible to sell your own coffee at retail.”
The San Rafael Sustainable Coffee Initiative was born and in the course of eighteen months, Ken and Alejandro had built a following of over 3000 coffee lovers that spanned the U.S., Canada & Europe, who were buying the output of more than twenty farmers.
The San Rafael Sustainable Coffee Initiative became the genesis of THRIVE Farmers. Now with over 300 farmers across six regions in three countries, THRIVE Farmers is on track to represent every major coffee growing region in the world, while providing consumers with the ability to support the success of the farmers and their community. The coffee is currently being sold through ecommerce at THRIVEFarmers.com although retail affiliates will be coming soon.
About THRIVE Farmers – THRIVE Farmers provides a vehicle for the farmer to advance his/her coffee into the marketplace. Farmers receive revenue when their coffee is sold to the consumer. In this way, THRIVE yields profits to the farmer up to 10x the Fair Trade model.
The THRIVE Farmers model was launched in Costa Rica in a pilot program over the last two years and is now being expanded globally. The company, based in Atlanta, GA, represents farmers from some of the world’s major coffee growing regions. To learn more, visit www.thrivefarmers.com.