Grow Ahead and Coop Coffees Successfully Crowdfund Farmer-to-Farmer Training for Climate Resilience

Grow Ahead and Coop Coffees have successfully raised US$15,000 for the first Farmer-to-Farmer training of Grow Ahead’s farmer climate resiliency program. This event is set to take place October 16 – 22, 2017 in Somoto, Nicaragua, with field visits to successful reforestation project work in Limay and San Juan Rio Coco. The training will highlight “lessons learned” during the 10-year reforestation work supported by the local Taking Root team and will facilitate peer-to-peer learning about reforestation as a tool for soil, water and climate resiliency between coffee-producer cooperative representatives from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru, as well as from Coop Coffees roaster and importer staff and supporting organizations.

Recent research reveals that due to changes in climate, up to 50% of current coffee producing regions will no longer be suitable for production by 2050. The majority of the world’s coffee is produced by farmers whose income is largely dependent on coffee alone, so there is a need to support the diversification of income and the adaptability of farms.

“In order to ensure a food secure future, it’s critical to increase the resilience of farmers whose livelihoods are threatened by climate uncertainties,” says Grow Ahead Director, Ryan Zinn. “Grow Ahead’s mission is to support small-scale farmers address the challenge of climate change in their communities through crowdfunding for grassroots solutions. Farmer-to-farmer trainings are one of the most effective methods to do this, facilitating the exchange of practical experiences and best practices.”

Harnessing the Power of Carbon Credits for Economic Diversification for Farmers

Local host Taking Root is a pioneer in harnessing the carbon offset industry to promote economic development and diversification among small-scale farmers in Central America. They’re using reforestation as a tool to mitigate climate change, restore ecosystems and improve livelihoods by encouraging small-scale farmer families to reforest underutilized parts of their farms using native tree species in exchange for direct payments from global carbon markets. Their impact to date is remarkable—they’ve paid $1.9 million to communities, they create 1,200 jobs annually, and they’ve planted 2.2 million trees.

“Taking Root’s work helps farmers adapt their livelihoods to climate change. Trees are much more resilient to extreme weather and sustainable harvest plans are designed to provide long-term income for farmers. When droughts, storms or floods destroy agricultural crops, the trees are still there to provide a reliable source of income,” explains Monika Firl, Coop Coffees Director of Sustainability.

Participants will take the knowledge from the workshop back to implement in their local communities. “Our goal is to get six to eight realistic work-plans for future projects. Projects will be eligible to apply for funding through the Coop Coffees Impact Fund,” says Firl.



Grow Ahead is an online lending and funding program that connects individuals and organizations directly to small-scale family farmer organizations. By lending and contributing through Grow Ahead, consumers and organizations can support the agroecological solutions and farmer-led trainings that have a proven track record of success in farming communities.


Cooperative Coffees is a green coffee importing cooperative committed to supporting and partnering with small-scale coffee farmers and their exporting cooperatives. By importing directly from our partner-farmers, we do business in a way that creates a fairer, more transparent and sustainable system of coffee trade that directly benefits farmers, and their families and communities.