Who is Sustainable Growers?
In 2013, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop a vocational training project for women in post-conflict countries, and called that non-profit the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI).
Its primary goal was to encourage economic independence through knowledge, information and market access. We also created a non-governmental organization in Rwanda to implement RCI’s vision on the ground, called Sustainable Harvest Rwanda.
Later we piloted Question Coffee — a social enterprise concept brand developed by our partner Sustainable Harvest — to showcase the high-quality, specialty coffee grown by the graduates of our training program through a cafe and wholesale roastery. It has become one of the best known coffee brands in Rwanda, now sold at nearly every major international hotel, top restaurants and national parks throughout the country.
And while we have had many names, we’ve had just one overarching goal: to build income opportunities for women coffee growers and their families by helping them transform into business professionals.
Today the name behind this effort is “Sustainable Growers.” It is a non-profit training organization, led by a talented local team, and is based in Kigali, Rwanda. We invite you to learn more about our work and impact.
Aligning with government
We work at surprising scale.
That's because we partner with government to reach small farmers at the local level. We tailor our training and trading activities to support the coffee development programs they've identified as important to their economies. We coordinate our program with their authority and plans. Officials are always welcome and present at our well-populated events.
We help producers understand coffee, at every step.
We incentivize training in the best agricultural practices, from planting to harvest. Expert agronomists teach our farmers how to plant and mother their trees for the highest yields, when to pick the reddest cherries, and how to practice the secrets of de-pulping and drying. Farmers earn reward points for their participation that can be used to acquire items of value to them, including tools and mobile phones.
But training doesn't stop at the washing station. Our participants learn to perfect their taste for quality coffee by refining their roasting and cupping skills, too.