Last month we trialled selling bags of coffee imported directly from a social enterprise project in Uganda. It was brought to our attention by Ben, a regular Loaf customer who had been ordering them for his friends and family.
Ben thought we might be interested in helping him scale up and they proved very popular, quickly selling out with great feedback. We ordered more and last week received a nice big delivery.
We asked Ben to write a short piece explaining how the project works and how he came to be involved. Over to you, Ben!
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of only two remaining habitats for mountain gorillas. Loaf is now stocking coffee that helps support gorilla conservation and the local community. They are grown without artificial fertilisers or pesticides by a community-run Ugandan NGO, Bwindi Conservation for Generations Foundation.
Growing the beans provides an income to local growers, including Batwa people who were displaced by the formation of the National Park. This means that they don’t have to encroach on the park to make a living. This helps conserve wildlife and to sustain the community. The Foundation also supports honey production, handicraft and ecotourism projects, and a ‘gorilla gardening’ programme where female gardeners work with children to create school food gardens.
I first met the Foundation’s founder, Happy Bruno, when we worked together on a project establishing community orchards in YMCA and Foyer sites around Birmingham. We kept in touch after the project ended and I began to arrange Bwindi honey and coffee orders for my friends. The response to this was very positive, but there is a limit to what can be done in this informal way. Working through Loaf will allow everyone to step up and hopefully provide a more regular income from the growers.
Meanwhile, a Halesowen-based charity, the Intouch Global Foundation, has agreed to support the ‘gorilla gardening’ project, and primary schools in Dudley, Bristol and Leeds have also come on board. It is great so see the next generation getting involved in this growing initiative.
Bwindi coffee is available as whole arabica beans in dark or medium roast. We’re selling the 500g bags for £18 each, comparable with local roasters.
For more on the work of Bwindi Conservation for Generations Foundation, visit bwindi.org.