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At the end of July, Basics team members Ryan and Amber attended Co+nvergence, an annual conference of food co-ops held in St. Paul, Minnesota.

While there, they had the opportunity to meet organic coffee producer Miriam Elizabeth Perez Zelaya. Miriam presented, with translation, on behalf of Cafe Organico Marcala S.A. (COMSA), an organic producer co-op in Marcala, La Paz, Honduras. Her topic was gender equity in the coffee industry, and she shared some amazing programs funded directly by your purchase of Equal Exchange coffee!

Miriam has been a producer for COMSA since 1993. Although the number of women farm owners in Honduras remains very small overall, over 30% of the producers for COMSA are women - and growing! 

This is because part of the premium that COMSA farmers receive for their coffee's fair trade and organic status goes to fund COMSA International School. Both boys and girls are welcome and encouraged to attend, and they learn much more than how to grow coffee. 

The primary teaching style is Montessori, using Glenn Doman methods. Students are taught to think, analyze, create, and invent (versus replicate). Agriculture classes focus on organic, biodynamic and pranic farming. Students are taught that by changing their way of thinking, they can change their way of living.

As a result of the education at COMSA school, some former students have even begun a program called Junto Limpiemos Marcala - Together Clean Up Marcala. The students are working on turning trash from Marcala and surrounding communities, as well as waste from the coffee processing industry, into entrepreneurial opportunities.

COMSA International School is uniquely positioned to change the future OF AGRICULTURE IN HONDURAS, AS WELL AS THE LIVES OF many young women and men. They are just one example of how your choice to purchase organic and fair trade has a real impact!

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