• La Florida was formed in 1966 to foster coffee commerce in the area and shorten the chain between local and national markets.
• This hard bean coffee is grown in the valleys of Yurinaki, Ubiriki and Perene, and the central upper Peruvian jungle.
• The group is Fair Trade, UTZ and organic certified.
• The Smithsonian Institute has credited La Florida with contributing to the preservation of habitat for migratory birds.
• CETPROP LA FLORIDA has been established to train and support the agricultural technicians, producers and farmers of the future.
• La Florida continues to subsidize the libraries of the area’s primary schools, funds uniforms for sports practice and maintains school orchards.
La Florida coffee cooperative was founded in 1966 in Peru’s Chanchamayo Valley region. Initially the cooperative consisted of 100 farmers who hoped to collaborate and market their coffee at better prices, improving the system of commercialization and shortening the chain between local and national markets. Just a few years later, 1900 farming families were working together through La Florida, representing 36 communal groups including Peruvian Sierra colonies and indigenous communities of the valleys of Yurinaki, Ubiriki, Perene and the central upper Peruvian jungle. Over the past few decades, the group has become Fair Trade, UTZ and organic certified. The cooperative works hard to preserve ancient forests and delicate soils, and has been certified by the Smithsonian Institute as contributing to the preservation of habitat for migratory birds by growing coffee beneath the old growth tree canopy, predominantly Inga. This is great for the coffee as well as the birds, as shade grown coffee matures more slowly, thus resulting in a harder, denser bean with a brighter cup. It also allows the coffee to develop a rich sweetness since the bean spends more time in contact with the sweet fruit that adheres to it.
Today La Florida is a solid communitarian enterprise, run by a democratically elected council chosen at an annual assembly. They strive to maintain a balance between high volume and top quality, and reinvest in their members and their families. Education and training are a priority, as La Florida looks to the youth in the community as its future members and leaders. With this in mind the La Florida Technical Production Education Center, or CETPROP LA FLORIDA, has been established. Its objectives are to educate and support the agricultural technicians, producers and leaders of the future with training in environmentally sustainable farming. A broad curriculum of studies is also offered at the center, which is free to local students, with the hope that good quality education will limit the volume of young people leaving the countryside and moving to the cities in search of opportunity. The program is financed by premiums from the Fair Trade Labelling Organization and also through the support of the CCFD of France.
In addition to setting up its own academy, La Florida continues to subsidize the libraries of the area’s primary schools, funds uniforms for sports practice and maintains school orchards. A separate initiative, Credi La Florida, was established in 2002 allowing members to take out small loans to develop their land or homes. Currently more than 1300 producers use this micro-credit program, and Credi La Florida has concentrated its efforts on empowering local women, with loans to help them fund business training and maintain their households.