La Coop is a family-owned and operated business from the beginning of the value chain in Union Cantinil, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, to the end, in the Washington, D.C. area.
Juan Luis Salazar Cano, Founder and CEO of the social enterprise La Coop Coffee Company, has deep roots in the Guatemalan Coffee Industry. An agronomist and the son of a coffee farmer from Union Cantinil, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, Juan Luis brought together a group of coffee farmers from his hometown in 2006 to form the Asociacion de Caficultores de Union Cantinil (Association of Coffee Growers of Union Cantinil or ASOCUC), with the goal of empowering farmers to earn a fair price for their specialty coffee. With a strong focus on community development and capacity building of its members, ASOCUC introduced new environmentally-friendly farming techniques, quality controls, and a micro-loan program, which led to better quality beans, higher earning potential for farmers, and social impact in Union Cantinil. Following their first year as a formal Association, ASOCUC sold their collective harvest to one of the most prominent coffee companies in the world. More than ten years since its formation, ASOCUC’s members are now collectively producing over 200,000 lbs of specialty coffee every year, while continuing to invest in the health and education of their families and community.
Photo by Amanda Archibald