Nascentes is a project of Sancoffee launched in 2021 aiming at supporting female producers in the Campo das Vertentes. The goal is to connect female growers in the area, provide them with learning opportunities and help grow the quality of their product. To celebrate the 3rd harvest of Nascentes, we’ve talked to 5 people involved in the project across the supply chain about its impact and the importance of women-focused initiatives in coffee. Here are their stories.
Ana Claudia is the impact coordinator at Sancoffee. Born and raised in the city of Santos Dumont, MG she didn’t come from a family that produced coffee or anything related to agriculture. Her father was a metallurgist and her mother a housewife, and she always heard from her mother to study and build her own story so that she could be independent. And so it was, at the age of 17 she went to university, moved away from home and started studying Agricultural Engineering. During her time at university, specialty coffee found her, it was love at first sight. Four years ago she joined the Sancoffee team and has been developing impact projects in the community, such as the Nascentes project.
The Nascentes project emerged from female coffee producers' desire for equal opportunities in the market. Launched in 2021, it addresses their needs: 1) same opportunities in the coffee sector as men have; 2) to be recognized for the work they do on their farms alone or with their families; 3) to take part in training courses to improve their coffee production and add more value to their products.
Promoting cultural change
The main challenge of the project is to promote a cultural change with women in the field that is a man's place. To make women believe that they deserve to be recognized for their work, that they can add value to their product, and that they can become professional by seeking improvements to their properties.
Cultivating partnerships is crucial, with importing and roasting allies supporting the project's impact. Initially, few women engaged, but now more actively participate in training, market their coffee, and enhance its quality over three harvests.
The overarching vision is continual positive impact, empowering women to gain recognition for their hard work in the field, alongside male counterparts. It's about amplifying women's voices and ensuring they reap the fruits of their labor at home and in their professions.
Luiza is one of the youngest coffee producers in the Sancoffee community. She is 25 years old. Her history with coffee and farms began very early because she always came to her father’s farm. Her father liked to show her the coffee production process, including picking and processing but as a child she never understood it as a business. She ended up going into a different area, and graduated in medicine in December 2022. But with her father's death there was a need for her to come to run the business and understand more. Her mother and sister didn’t know much about coffee either being a bank worker and an architect, but the family had to step in.
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry presents challenges, especially in dealing with suppliers and producers from different generations. I believe in promoting women's roles in coffee growing, emphasizing the quality of our work. The Nascentes project caught my interest as it amplifies the impact of women in both production and leadership, addressing the gender disparity prevalent in agribusiness.
Putting trust in women
Taking over the farm was no easy feat, but it became a collective success. I owe it to our dedicated employees who trusted me, my mother, and my sister. Their commitment and resilience were crucial in overcoming challenges.
Looking forward, my vision includes not just expanding, but also enhancing quality. I aim to showcase our farms on a national and international stage through Sancoffee, bringing positive outcomes to the farm and its employees. It's about breaking barriers, proving that women can thrive in the coffee industry, and contributing to its growth and success.
Anderleia is a Beyond Border program member and a wife of a coffee farmer. She has had contact with coffee since she was a child when her grandmother took her to the farm so she could learn the job she did and then she married the man who likes to work with farming. Three years ago she decided to dedicate herself to farming too.
Upon joining my husband in coffee farming, we initially shared crops with his father and other local growers. Today, thanks to our hard work and newfound knowledge, we've acquired our own small coffee plot. The income from our coffee has allowed us to expand production and achieve dreams, such as purchasing a car and funding our children's education.
Standing alongside my husband
Nascentes has been a valuable source of knowledge for women like me. I want to encourage fellow women not to fear pursuing knowledge in coffee. As I've delved into learning, I've witnessed a positive shift in my relationship with my husband. We now share common goals, and he values my insights into coffee farming. Women shouldn't be behind; we should stand side by side with our husbands.
Empowering through inspiration
Recently, someone at a meeting told me, "Anderleia, you inspire me a lot. I'm here today because of you, your posts, and your sharing of knowledge." I aspire to inspire even more women. Through these meetings, we can collectively empower others in the coffee farming community. Seeking knowledge is beneficial not just for one person but for all coffee farmers. This project, Nascentes, plays a pivotal role in this journey.
Laurel is a former green buyer and roaster at Vote Coffee in Berlin. They worked for Vote for 5 years and first learned about Nascentes in 2022. Vote Coffee designed special packaging with the Nascentes project branding.
Ana told us about this project, founded for and by women producers in collaboration with Sancoffee. What was really exciting for me was that the origins of the project really came from the ground up. The first part of the project involved research to find out what women producers in Brazil really wanted to see in terms of representation and how they wanted their image to be portrayed in the coffee industry.
The multitude of roles women play in coffee
At Vote, we always love to support the initiatives where the work of women producers is highlighted. This means buying coffees from the farms that are managed by women but also acknowledging the wider work that women do in the coffee industry. A lot of this labour is unspoken and uncelebrated. Nascentes, referring to a spring or source, captures women’s essential and foundational role in coffee production.
Vote buys more coffee from Brazil than from any other country. Especially because Brazilian coffees are the backbone of our roastery, we like to ensure that the relationships we form with Brazilian producers are long-term and genuine, not just transactional. We see the Nascentes project as a nice way to create closer communication, to collaborate and help where we can.