Grower’s Project Helping Guatemalan Farmers

November 2012 – April 2013

For this Growers’ Project we selected two microlots harvested at high altitude by the CODECH cooperative in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The blend, which offered a roasted nut and cocoa flavour, was chosen for competition by one of our baristas in the final round of the 2012 Canadian Barista Championship! It was also one of the coffees used in the Winterbrewed Beer, created by Beau’s Brewery in Vankleek Hill. We held the launch party for the beer at our Roastery, which raised $400 for CODECH. Our final donation total, including coffee sales, was $8,400.

Growing Up Organic Blend Still Growing

May 2011 – October 2011

Once again, Bridgehead dedicated its fundraiser blend to the Growing Up Organic program, which is committed to teaching schoolchildren about the importance of organic farming. As in past years, a portion of the money went towards the creation and harvest of six organic vegetable gardens in the neighbourhoods of our stores.

In addition, a share of the money raised was donated to Songberry Farm, a local organic farm in Bristol, Quebéc run by Rob Wallbridge and his wife, Julie. They’ve been farming there since 2003 and--with their growing family-- now grow over 200 varieties of organic vegetables. Bridgehead buys produce such as zucchini, squash, tomatoes and fresh basil from them on a regular basis to use in our sandwiches and salads. The money was donated to this local farm so they could expand their business by building a packing shed and washing station

A team of six Bridgehead staff members also went out to the farm for an afternoon at the end of September to help with the squash harvest. They had a great time picking, gathering, loading and unloading all sorts of squash with Rob!


Nicaraguan Earthquake

April 2011

In August 2010, a devastating earthquake hit the municipality of Pueblo Colorado in Nicaragua, affecting a community of 240 people and the small-scale coffee growing farms nearby. While the families that were affected are not part of the two co-ops we purchase our coffee from, they do fall under the large Prodecoop umbrella co-op, which we buy from as well.
While temporary shelters were built for the families, there was little to no drinking water, basic food, clothing, blankets, or other necessities. The power supply was also affected by the earthquake, and of course the damage to their crops was irreparable. This reduced production meant that at their time of need, these farmers were not sure if they would even have a profitable harvest for the year.
In an effort to help out, Bridgehead donated $10,000 to these farmers last fall. It was calculated that in order to rebuild their communities, they would need to raise about $426,000. This would cover their immediate needs of food, water and basic supplies and also contribute to the purchase of a new parcel of land, as well as the construction of 32 new homes, 7 kilometres of roads and the a new well for the community.

Nicaraguan Fundraiser to Support Coffee Farmers

November 2010 - April 2011

The Nicaraguan Grower’s Blend was a fundraiser blend that raised money for two great projects for our Nicaraguan growing co-ops. These projects will continue to grow and develop throughout the coming years.
The first project was at the Zacarias Padilla cooperative. Bridgehead’s donation helped improve their wet mill system by repairing the water piping and waste water management system. The goal was also to double the size of their on-site drying patio to improve consistency and to give them a greater ability to control coffee quality.
As of last month, they have reached 40% of their goal for the wet mill project and have even reinforced the water receiving pool with new tiles so there will be no more leakage and lost water. As of yet, they have not expanded their concrete drying patio and instead are opting to create raised drying beds for the coffee to dry on. This will be a cheaper project then they had planned originally and, because the beds will be raised and cascaded, it will also be a better use of space.
The money raised also went towards the Jose Alfredo Zeledon co-op and was meant to improve coffee production through the use of Bokashi, a type of organic fertilizer created though anaerobic fermentation. So far, the first year of production was successful with an increase of 40-50% in coffee production. The number of members of the co-op also rose from 90 to 130, making it a busy year all around for this co-op!

Growing up Organic Blend Sows More Seeds

April 2010 – September 2010

The previous year’s Growing up Organic fundraising initiative successfully raised $7000 and numerous volunteer hours, which supported the construction of organic vegetable gardens at seven Ottawa schools. It was such a delicious blend and successful initiative, Bridgehead has decided to support Growing Up Organic for another year with $2 from every pound sold of the Growing Up Organic Blend going towards the program.

Ecuadorian Growers Blend for Cupping Lab

November 2009 – March 2010

In Ecuador we worked with FAPECAFES cooperative who wanted to improve the quality of their coffee. An essential tool is a well-equipped cupping lab which allows growers to taste the difference in coffee that has been carefully grown, harvested and processed. To support this initiative, Bridgehead created the Ecuadorian Growers Blend, a rich pairing of our Ecuadorian and Costa Rican Cloudforest coffees. Bridgehead donated $2 from every pound to the FAPECAFES Cupping Lab Project. The cooperative used these funds to purchase a new sample roaster and commercial grade grinder with proper cupping and quality control tools for their cupping lab. FAPECAFES stands for “The Federacion Regional de Asociaciones de Pequeños Cafetaleros Ecológicos del Sur del Ecuador”. Bridgehead raised $7,000 to donate to the cupping lab project.