The Cooperative “Producers’ Union Maya Vinic” is an organization comprised of indigenous Tzetlal and Tzotzil farmers located in highland communities of Chenalhó, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán, in Chiapas, Mexico. Members on average have landholdings no greater than one hectare of coffee. Inspired by the traditions of their ancestors, Maya Vinic operates with a respect for local language and culture, and a reverence for Mother Earth and traditional forms of self government.
The founding members of Maya Vinic come out of the base organization “Las Abejas” – a network of Liberation Theology catechists in the region. They envisioned the cooperative in the aftermath of the 1997 Acteal massacre, where 45 of their members were caught in the political cross-fire of the era. The day of their funeral, survivors and sympathizers arrived each carrying a brick – which would be used to build a mausoleum to commemorate their dead. Yet it wasn’t until three years later, with the birth of Maya Vinic that they were able to create the foundation for new life in the community.
These members worked hard: organizing, training, reclaiming the land, composting, pruning, communicating… both to locals for support and externally for a fair market – all looking for a better alternative to the life they had just come from.
Striving to offer a consistently high-quality coffee, raised with care and respect for their natural resources — the coop offers their producer members regular educational and capacity-building activities focused on sustainable farming techniques and the importance of a strong social economy. Maya Vinic in the cup has a classic Chiapas profile, with medium body, bright acidity and balanced with sweet, deep flavors of caramel, dark chocolate and spices… and a hint of fruit.
As a collective initiative to improve the living situations of their farmers, Maya Vinic understands that in addition to producing great coffee for our roaster members, they must also provide even greater economic benefit to their producers. They strive constantly to support dignified livelihoods and living conditions through the production and marketing of their green coffee as well as roasted coffee sales across Mexico and through their producer managed coffee-shop located in San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Cooperative Coffees purchased the first Maya Vinic coffee to be exported under fair trade terms in 2002. Now, nearly 20 years later, we continue to celebrate one of our longest standing relationships every spring anticipating the arrival of their coffee.
Social Premium Investment: 2019 Crop YearFair Trade Certification guarantees 20 cents/lb of the price paid a producer organization is set aside as a social premium. How this money is invested is a decision taken collectively by the general assembly of members at the end of each harvest. Below is a break down of how producers in this organization chose to spend their fair trade premium.
InfastructureFounding members incentive. Purchase chairs for meetings. Members workshops and training. Coffee shop maintenance. Truck purchase.
Additional IncomeAdditional quality incentive to farmer for farm maintenance.
OperationsSupporting internal control system and employee support.