The best Colombian coffee may well coffee from Fondo Paez (whose growers also call themselves Nasa, or “the people”) belong to the largest indigenous group in Colombian coffee growing regions. Fondo Paez was founded in 1992, to recuperate traditional agricultural knowledge and indigenous culture, which had been buried by centuries of conflict and oppression. To ensure a stable income for their members, Fondo Paez organized community-based coffee cooperatives.
Today they are active members of the fair trade community. They are also governed democratically with the day to day work distributed between the producer board of directors and production, organizational, internal credit and external marketing committees run by the members themselves. Prior to their early June through late August harvest, Fondo Paez promoters visit each member to review production results and to encourage best picking, handling and wet processing practices. Fondo Paez coffee is characterized by pungent flavors of raisin, apricot and fresh berries, honeysuckle and vanilla aromas, bright acidity and silky full body; and their coffee continues to win recognition and awards as a 90+ coffee in both local and international cupping competitions.
Fondo Paez is completely committed to the self-sufficiency of their people and have a holistic approach that is evident in their farming practices. Colombian coffee is only one of many crops that are incorporated into a diverse agro-forestry system. The members of Fondo Paez have created a sustainable vision for their indigenous communities. This vision is remarkable in and of itself, but the work and successes of this organization are truly extraordinary when viewed within the context of Colombian politics and globalization.