We cover the shipping costs of bringing coffee from Colombia to Germany, fulfill the entire 500 kg/2019 harvest and invest to get more people to join our weave.
This amount (+20k investor money) covers 2019 expenses, another 3 months of the system in 2020, better tools to grow the network and symbolic wages in Germany.
The coffee trade system is broken.
In the conventional coffee trade system, the middlemen make money while families farm intensively just to scrape by through the year. They have to work very long, hard hours and are often the most immediately and directly affected by factors such as economic instability, exploitation, and the unpredictable effects of a changing climate. In addition, they have no choice but to live on loans and credits as they only get paid once a year after the harvest.
This process is also land-intensive. Every year the equivalent of 140,000 football fields are turned over to new coffee plantations.* All that to meet our insatiable demand, and compensate for low prices with large quantities. We believe you have heard of current solutions such as Fair Trade. And although, it is a good idea, after 40 years of implementation it still hasn't been successful at addressing poverty among small-scale farmers and workers.** We need more ideas!
We propose a different solution.
Hilo is an alternative system to conventional coffee trade. By weaving a direct connection to small farming families, we empower specialty coffee lovers like you to make a difference and actively become part of a shift towards sustainability in the coffee trade. We want to achieve this with a community-supported agriculture model for coffee production. One which creates economic security while supporting educational projects at the same time. On one hand, it will provide small-scale farmers with a stable income that set considering their actual costs of production, while on the other hand it will sustain educational projects that will strengthen communities. This will provide a dignified life for these families and communities.
This is possible due to the direct connection we provide to the farming families, avoiding most of middlemen who currently capture most of the value. By bypassing the conventional global trade we will keep most of the value generation activities in the country of origin : from farming and processing, all the way to roasting and packaging. We will begin with the Giraldo family (introduced in the video), and we look forward to integrate many more families in the near future.
By the way, we work in a not-for-profit way because our focus is sustainability not profit ;).
About our delicious Coffee
You will enjoy a coffee grown by hard-working, warm-hearted hands with amazing credentials: It is a single-origin, specialty coffee (SCAA 82+), grown at 2,000 meters above sea level, from a family that has won the Colombian Cup of Excellence. For us, quality is necessary but not enough.
That’s why our single-origin, high-altitude Colombian coffee feels even better than it tastes.
In a nutshell.
When you buy Hilo coffee you’re an active participant in this new system, helping heal trust and division in communities, and weaving a strong social fabric.
What we ask from you: There are different ways to get involved: You will find in the rewards section the following options: (1) Subscribe to our Harvest 2020 Prepaid ABO and help secure the stable income for the farming family for 2020 (2) Get Hilo coffee packages: Early Birds and Coffee Reward (3) Participate in some of the activities and get to meet the team behind the HILO initiative (4) Get in contact with us ([email protected]) if you want to engage with the project in any other way, we are looking forward to hearing from you!
Learn more about us by reading our FAQs.
*Global coffee and Land use change
**The problem with fair trade coffee
Our main goal is to test our system by connecting the first stitches of our weave: one coffee-producing family and one educational project in Colombia, to a network of supporters in Germany. The Hilo system is already operational. The participants in Colombia have already fulfilled their part in this initial concept. We have 500 kg of coffee, a running educational project, and the corresponding regular monthly income payments, which started in May 2019. With this crowdfunding campaign, we aim to have enough demand for the initial 500 kg of the 2019 harvest we have secured, and, hopefully, for the entire harvest of 2020 – that’s around 3,5 tons of coffee!
We will use the funds we raise to further establish our basic infrastructure and generate greater groundswell for our concept and take this project to the next level. This will prepare us for our next big goal, which is to expand our system to new small-scale coffee-growing families and new social projects. We want to set a best practice example for impact-oriented and community-supported coffee trade that can be replicated in other communities, and with different commodities.
For this to happen, we need the participation of every conscious consumer (coffee lover or not!) who is looking for ways to act, create, and take part in system-changing innovations for an empathetic, fair and more sustainable world. We aim to connect you with a taste for change and empower you with the decision to make a difference simply by choosing a better cup of coffee.
By taking part in Hilo, you are supporting community development and an alternative system that provides a regular living income for small-scale coffee farmers and local-people engaged with educational projects in rural Colombia. Your support enables collaboration with local communities to solve societal challenges by improving their economic livelihood, building trust, and generating a long-term impact through the education of future generations. With your help, we can make commodities production and consumption work for sustainability (imagine how amazing that would be!). Join the Weave!
As one of our supporters
(1) you become a conscious consumer by supporting economic stability and social fabric restoration in rural Colombia,
(2) you support small-scale producers instead of increasing the profit of large coffee corporations,
(3) you get a high-quality, single-origin, carefully harvested product that prioritizes sustainability, not profits.
(4) you help initiate bottom-up solutions for climate resilience.
We are just starting, but we are determined. We have already received direct interest from various small-scale coffee farmers that find Hilo an attractive alternative. To begin the process of building trust with them, we want to test our system before going further, and our test is this crowdfunding campaign – that’s why your participation has a big impact!
Our system has already been working at a small-scale prototype level since May 2019. With the initial investment we received, we have managed to pay for the logistics of shipping 500 kg of coffee (we made sure our value chain works), as well as a regular income for the family for 12 months, and the local administrator and the educational project for 6 months. This has already generated a huge impact on the community! Check out our blog posts to see the reports from the educational project and an interview with the coffee farmers.
The regular income for the family is calculated based on the quantity of coffee distributed via Hilo. This means that a true living income will be achieved once we manage to distribute their whole harvest — the 3,5 tons mentioned above. That’s why the way the money will be used depends on the funding goal we achieve.
(1) If we reach the first funding goal of 5,000 EUR, we cover the shipping costs of bringing coffee from Colombia to Germany, move our entire current inventory (500 kg from the 2019 harvest), and invest in our communication and business infrastructure to get more people to join our weave.
(2) If we surpass the second goal of 10,000 EUR, a friendly investor will put in a further 20,000 EUR. With 30,000 EUR, we cover all the costs for 2019 and guarantee another 3 months of the system working in 2020, pay for logistics and marketing tools, and symbolic wages for the team in Germany, in addition to all the activities of the first funding goal.
(3) If your support grows beyond our imagination (imagine 60,000 EUR!), in addition to setting up all the infrastructure mentioned in the previous two goals, we will reach the critical mass and have proved our concept: A big project for big impact. We fully establish an organization in which both producers and consumers are participants and we move from business-trading to sustaining a new system. This means: A regular living income for one family in exchange for their 2020 coffee harvest, plus funding for the educational project are secured, both for an entire year. It also means being one step closer to making a regular living income a standard for the coffee industry.
Our system is in the concept phase and includes one small-scale coffee producer and one educational project. The Giraldos, a family of six who have been growing coffee for 3 generations in the Vereda Morro Amarillo in Jardín, Antioquia in Colombia; and Patricia Arroyave, an educator who runs a literacy program for children in the rural community, an important initiative that brings a new perspective for the next generations by promoting a passion for reading.
Our coffee logistics partner company, Colombian Spirit, transports our coffee from the farm to your doorstep. Rara Colectivo Audiovisual is a local film collective that closely cooperates with Hilo to tell the story of what is happening in Colombia. Good Point Agency in Berlin who provides communication strategy support. The Social Impact Lab in Leipzig, which enabled the conceptualization of the idea and provided a co-working space for our meetings. In collaboration with the founder, Martín Rojas Arboleda, our multidisciplinary, multicultural team of volunteers in Germany are working hard to bring this dream to fruition: Julia Kostin, Tiago Volpato, Thomas Marufke, Melissa Bejjani, Barbara Nino, Rodolfo Duarte, Mauricio Torres, and Alex Bernatzky and of course every single one of you that join our weave.