We're in our third year of partnering with Jaime Lovo, his family and employees at Finca Santa Isabel above the village of Dipilto in Nueva Segovia in Nicaragua. The farm is at the top of the mountains. Three natural springs originate from the farm and it is our favorite place to visit. We're beginning to know our way around and we love returning time and time again.
A lot has changed since we began our relationship there. Two significant changes this year are a complete switch to 100 % organic fertilizers and pesticides and the addition of solar panels.
The farm has always been very environmentally conscious, but now even more so. Jaime Jr, a newly graduated agronomist, and the farms current agronomist have worked together and with 8th Ave Supervisor Noah Welch (Bar- quito) to make the change in a rapid, safe, and economically viable fashion. The addition of solar panels will allow the workers who live on the farm temporarily or year-round to enjoy 24-hour electricity.
The farm now has a full-time, well-paid teacher offering classes after lunch every day. This has turned into a larger expense than we expected because everybody wants to go to school, not just the kids. The solar panels will allow them more time to study. They will also be able to watch movies, listen to radio, charge cell phones, etc without the use of petrol.
The people who pick coffee on Santa Isabel, there are about 80 during harvest, are the highest paid in the region. There are other farm owners who boast of high wages, but our friends receive about ten percent more than the second highest pay we have found. This is a continuing and sustainable pay that is not connected to the normal uncertainty of market rates set by the Nicaraguan government. They receive about $8.50 per day as opposed to the average $6.75.
This trip we were able to show Max Scherr, the eight-year-old Heir Apparent to Think Coffee, all about farming and picking. Watch the video below.
It's important to note that none of the projects at Finca Santa Isabel or any of our other farms have anything to do with charity. All the changes at Finca Santa Isabel have been a joint project between Jaime Lovo, Think Coffee, and the importer The Bushwick Seed Company.