CAN seeks to improve food security and sovereignty (FSS) in rural communities in Central America and Mexico. We promote a combination of strategies that aim to increase local availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods, and improve the environment, but also to empower women as economic agents and providers in their homes and communities. In our FSS project with the Union of Cooperatives in San Ramón (UCA San Ramón), CAN has begun supporting women’s collective rural enterprises to enhance their earning power and their organizational power.        
                                     

After more than four years of planning and developing skills in business operations, accounting, and marketing, a women’s group from the Danilo Gonzalez Cooperative in the community of La Reyna, San Ramón, is set to open a café in the town of San Ramón.

The idea of establishing the café as a collectively-run women’s business came out of the need to further enhance economic activities, increase family incomes further, and also educate the community about the richness of rural agriculture and efforts to improve food security and sovereignty. The idea for the café began in 2010, when the women embarked on a process to develop their business plan. Alongside them, a separate women’s cooperative called El Privilegio began developing their own business plan for a small coffee roasting business in their very isolated community of El Roblar. Thus, the idea came about that one group of women would roast quality coffee, and another group would sell it in the café in San Ramón, benefiting both groups of women and their families.

The goals of the café are to:

  • build entrepreneurial skills among the women, who will control and operate the businesses themselves;
  • reduce outmigration from the rural communities by generating direct and indirect employment;
  • create a constant space for other women in the FSS project to sell their surplus garden vegetables, fruits, and value-added products they make at home (like bread or fruit jams); and
  • educate the community about where their local food comes from.

The café will not only sell coffee, but also fruit juices and shakes, pastries, breakfasts, snacks, and salads, as well as produce and crafts produced in the cooperatives.

CAN is proud to have helped support the women through the revolving fund loan to make the last investments for the café in their coffee machine, and chairs and tables. We look forward to seeing the results of more than 4 years of work!