Colombia ANEI Mujeres Tejedoras Fairtrade Organic is the most recent offering from the Association of Indigenous Agroecology Producers (ANEI).
ANEI was founded by Aurora Izquierdo, one of the first women of her generation to leave the indigenous Arhuaco community of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in pursuit of a higher education. She returned to her community with a commitment to transform coffee cultivation into a source of value for the community and a way to share the message of the importance of respecting and protecting the Earth.
The Arhuaco call the Sierra Nevada, which they say contains every type of ecosystem, from the glacier at the top of the mountain, to tropical landscapes and deserts, the “heart of the world.” All the farming they do is informed by this idea; they would never use chemicals, for example, that could poison the beating heart. Every act is considered and intentional.
Likewise, the community considers the Earth to be female and views women as the stronger gender, with the power to implement important change. Within the coffee organization, then, gender equity has long been natural and valued.
Aurora Izquierdo’s work with ANEI has earned an award from the governor of the department of Cesar for leadership, service, management and commitment to the most vulnerable communities, and has been recognized by the United Nations World Food Programme for empowering women in indigenous communities. She was also recently chosen by the International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA) to lead the IWCA chapter in the north of Colombia, Caribbean region.
You can read more about ANEI and the Arhuaco community in this coffee bio, and this blog post (we have no connection to it) also offers fascinating reading.
Mujeres Tejedoras translates to women weavers. This nod to the traditional handcraft also acknowledges the way that women’s work is inextricably intertwined with the community, forming its very fabric.
“We knit the future in community and in harmony with nature,” the group says in marketing materials.
In addition to the agricultural services ANEI provides to all cooperative members, the women’s program offers training workshops to motivate women, teach them food safety and bolster childcare practices. Additionally, it actively supports local traditions, including the sharing of handcrafts.
In terms of commercial support, a connection to the World Bank Productive Alliances Project — which enhances indigenous communities’ access to markets — means the women can participate in trainings to improve infrastructure and conditions for cultivation, as well as to build their business administrative and accounting skills.
Colombia ANEI Mujeres Tejedoras Fairtrade Organic comes from 102 women producers in the departments of Cesar, La Guajira and Magdalena, between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serranía del Perijá.
“Through this program, we seek to guarantee the participation and well-being of indigenous and women producers,” says Cristen Anaya, coordinator of commercial operations for ANEI. “Through the production of these coffees we contribute energetically to gender equity. This is a coffee full of stories of love and wisdom that are the experiences of empowered women from ANEI.”
Cupping notes: Peach, maple, orange, caramel; complex acidity, light and juicy body.