Hacienda Miramonte: Progress on the Path to Sustainability
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The farms have always tried to maintain good shade cover. But now that they’re part of the Rainforest Alliance program, many more native tree species have been planted on the farm.
Not only do the additional shade trees protect the coffee plants from the sun and heavy rains, they improve soil, which means less erosion. They also provide habitat for the birds that thrive on both Hacienda Miramonte farms.
Farm manager Roger Medina believes that greater tree cover and improved soil management has helped to increase the quality of his coffee beans.
Quality has improved in recent harvests, but there is always room for greater improvement, he says.
Natural walls of vegetation have been planted on the edges of the farms.
Medina and his workers do not apply any chemicals within 32 feet (10 meters) of the streams that run through both farms. "The Rainforest Alliance helped us realize the importance of this," he explains. "Now we have cleaner running water through our farms and an environment fit for wildlife."
The farms employ 36 workers, who are all benefiting from the improvements required for Rainforest Alliance certification.
Nearby, free housing is provided for permanent farm workers. Bathrooms are currently being expanded for workers and a new kitchen is under construction.
New initiatives like recycling, required for Rainforest Alliance certification, have been easy to implement. But good recordkeeping has taken some getting used to.
Workers and their families talk of how the program has brought the farm community together. Caring for each other, their coffee beans and the environment all go hand-in-hand.
With its focus on increasing shade, caring for its workers and producing a quality cup, Hacienda Miramonte is making excellent progress on the path toward sustainability.