I would like to ask for your support in a new initiative we’re starting called “La Terza Loves.”
For the past year, I have personally been upset by the lack of basic humanity I’ve seen reported at the Southern US border. I know that immigration is a complex issue that needs both respectful dialogue and careful action. However, I simply have not been able to understand our lack of compassion towards any group of people, regardless of politics and opinions around our immigration policies - especially those seeking refuge from danger and extreme poverty. While I have been angered by this issue, I also have felt that there was little I could do.
As you know, as the “Chief Visionary” for La Terza, I am nearly always the optimist, looking to the future for better human experiences. This is my personal "why” behind my work here: running our business with clear guiding principles of treating all the people we interact with well and using our business as an example of how others can run their businesses with success! I believe a new economic system is coming and our work with La Terza is playing a part in ushering in this new system.
While we certainly are not trying to push any political agenda, we also cannot remain silent on the issue. Fourteen of the nineteen coffees currently in stock at La Terza come from Central and South America. We feel invested in these individuals and the partnerships we’ve cultivated over the years. And although this is a highly politicized topic at the moment, we don’t see this as a political issue, but rather a humanitarian issue.
Two weeks ago, news cycled through with a picture of a father and daughter who had drowned in the Rio Grande river. Seeing the image of desperate people seeking asylum sent me through a wide range of emotions - from anger and confusion to helplessness and despair. I felt sheer hopelessness for humanity and thought, “If this is how we treat desperate people, then what’s the point?” As a father of a 19-month old son, I simply cannot imagine someone taking him from me for an extended period of time, especially as he would not have the cognitive ability to understand any of that situation. I was heartbroken.
At the end of that somber day, I found an organization that at least allowed me to “do something.” Preemptive Love is an organization that is primarily based in Iraq and Syria helping with job creation and relief. Specifically addressing the border issues, they are sending emergency supplies with backpacks to the border to help. I personally donated towards this cause to at least have an outlet to help in a small way.
On my drive home, I continued to wrestle with the issue and concluded that my anger mostly revolved around the fact that I felt powerless to do anything. However, I quickly realized that through the world of coffee and our work at La Terza, I had more opportunity to help than many who may have felt the same way I was feeling.
It has always been a part of our DNA as a brand to build relationships with farmers and importers so that we know that people are paid living wages. This addresses some of the issues of immigration, as buying coffee ethically empowers people to earn a living and stay in their communities. A narrative not often told in our current political climate is that some immigrants at the border would prefer to stay in their home countries and communities if their basic needs were met and if they didn’t leave in fear and violence, which is so often related to poverty.
Our relationships in Honduras are prime examples of how buying coffee correctly can positively impact a community. Producer Katia Duke has provided a dependable, honest wage to so many in her community. And because her crops are now competitive in the specialty coffee market, the price she’s able to charge for her coffee has opened more doors than we can name. She’s extended the working season for her workers. She’s offered employment to women in her community, and built a school for their children so they can break a long-standing cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity. This is just one story, of just one of the coffees we carry, and there are countless other stories like this unfolding all around the world.
Coffee creates jobs outside of the farms, too! I’ve already been asked to come to Honduras and play a role in teaching a business course in a community where we buy coffee from, empowering local business owners and change-makers to make the most out of their respective trades. What would it look like to teach business skills to individuals in Honduras as well? I can envision a future where entire countries being transformed for the better.
Our business mostly focuses on supplying wholesale accounts, but many don’t know about the robust online ordering systems we’ve built out over the years for retail consumers. With the flip of a switch, we can use our current systems as tools to sell coffee online and raise money and support for non-profit partners that are doing great work. By extending these products to retail consumers, we’re giving people the chance to “do something” in a way that is easy, affordable, and likely already part of their purchasing rhythms. If you’re going to buy coffee anyway, why not buy an ethically sourced, phenomenally roasted bag of coffee whose proceeds go directly to our non-profit partners?
These thoughts have led to this new initiative, La Terza Loves.
We have selected 6 partner organizations that have identified solutions and are working to address the problems from multiple angles.
You can read more about our partners and La Terza Loves here, but the key takeaway is that all profits from retail sales of our Honduran coffee will go towards these six organizations. If you purchase coffee on our site, the profits will be equally split between them. If there is an organization that you feel drawn to more than others, you can also purchase coffee through their sites and all of the profits from that sale will go towards their specific work.
In a world that is constantly filled with hatred and strife, we are choosing to use the resources we have to love. We’re inviting you to join us.
To support The Honduras Project, you can buy your coffee here. I also encourage you to share this initiative to friends and family to give others the chance to take action when they may have felt powerless. We’ve seen how impactful specialty coffee can be, and together we have such a unique opportunity to create lasting change.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership, and thanks for reading this letter. I am grateful to be walking alongside you in this.
CEO and Chief Visionary of La Terza Coffee
*A disclaimer: This is written from my personal views and perspectives. While I have the full support of the La Terza team, this does not necessarily reflect the views of all La Terza team members. ALSO, if you disagree from these views, I welcome your dialogue! La Terza empowers coffee shops in part so we can have safer places for the hard conversations that our society needs.