Nicaraguan Coop and Florida CSA
My name is Jonathan Dodd and I spoke with Howard during the second hour of Sunday, Sept 19 radio show.
I work with 60 coffee farmers in Nicaragua who have started a Coop. I am currently importing coffee from these farmers and have created a coffee company call New Earth Goods, in order to save an orphanage in Jinotepe, Nicaragua from closing.
This orphanage is more like a community center; besides the 20 kids who live there, it has a small farm working 2 acres of land with the potential to grow to 130 acres, it houses a school, a feeding program for 400 people (women and children to age 6), and it provides the only clean drinking water for the entire community. The farmers I work with are 5 hours away from the orphanage (which is closer to Granada). The coffee is in the mountains north of San Rafael del Norte, in the Jinotega region. I have learned a lot about the truth of the coffee business after witnessing what small farmers have to go through to survive (this is true for the US and 3rd world countries).
I am taking a group to a max of 25 people January 22-29, 2011. We are going to paint a school, play games with the kids, take a dentist and physician (if we can find one), harvest the coffee and work the farms. I am seeking to take an agronomist with me. I have convinced the leaders of the coop that they need to become organic, diversify their crops, and other suggestions. However, I have no idea what I am doing. My education is a Master's of Divinity from Regent College, not in agriculture.
We have also started a local not-for-profit in Cocoa, FL where we live. We are on 4 acres and we decided to start farming after reading the works of Wendell Berry. We have grown tremendously over the past 3 months.
Our name is Keipos, which means "garden" in Greek. Our motto is: "when you pick the grapes on the grapevine, go over it only once; leave the rest for the estranged, the widow and the orphan" (Deut 24:21). For us, farming, food, and community have become our whole way of life, hospitality to all in need. We currently have 6 interns, 8 members, and about 20 volunteers.
Thank you for any help you can give concerning the help with Nicaragua. I have a professional film crew going in January with me, so this could be a great opportunity for somebody with an organic agriculture background to get some free publicity.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Please check out our websites: http://negoods.comhttp://keipos.org
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Jonathan Dodd
NE Goods & Keiposjonathan@negoods.comhttp://negoods.com