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Located in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, exists the Asociación Civil Guaya'b. Guaya’b is a term from the Mayan language Popti’ which means “mutual support”. Their ancestors did not use money to hire labor: purchases were not made with coins, but rather based in sustainability and mutual support. This traditional approach paralleled with current operations sees solidarity and the joint effort to combine volumes and qualities of competitive products in increasingly demanding markets.

Currently, the group has 775 members, a majority of which come from indigenous descent. Guaya'b was formally established in 1998 and joined the Fair Trade movement in 2000. The premiums that they received from Fair Trade have helped to create a more stable economy and decreased the rate of migration in the area. They have many programs funded by the premiums including medical insurance for all of the members and their families. Many of them grow additional crops such as peanuts, fruit and peppers to sell at the markets for extra income.

In 2018, a team from Wicked Joe Organic Coffees traveled to this remote region of Guatemala to host a workshop for the cooperative. We led three classes, educating on sample roasting, coffee cupping, and coffee brewing. It was a life-changing experience for our team seeing some of the farmers taste their own coffee for the very first time. Returning once again in 2023, our team was able to grow these relationships and spend time further learning from one another while catching up. In this past year alone, Asociación Civil Guaya'b gained 100 new farmers and their families. Even as this community grows, they continue to vote as a collective on how Fair Trade premiums, budgets, and resources should be allocated. We thank each member of Guaya’b for sharing their remarkable area with us, and for demonstrating how empowering community can truly be.