Coffee farmers’ cooperative changes course of migration

Cafe Justo celebrated their 20th anniversary as a successful fair-trade organic coffee cooperative
coffee farmers stand in front of Cafe Justo, a cooperative that has changed the course of migration
Image by Todd Miller

For decades, the typical story of people migrating from Mexico to the US has told of a search for economic security.  Thousands of men and women have left their homes, never to return either because of successful migration, detainment, or, maybe, death in the desert. 

However, the coffee farmers of Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico, offer a success story of reverse migration.  In 2003, these farmers joined together to form the Café Justo Coffee Cooperative.  They produce organic coffee that is “better than free trade.”  With support from Frontera de Cristo—a US Presbyterian Border Mission Project—they are able to send all of their harvest to the roaster they also own in Agua Prieta, Sonora.  There the coffee is roasted, packaged, and sold throughout the US and other parts of the world.  Because of the Cooperative’s success, family members of the farmers have returned from the US, and others have not felt the need to migrate.  Now members of the next generation have either joined the Co-op or have trained to be teachers, nurses, or lawyers.  

On 4 and 5 November 2022, a delegation of co-op members from Salvador Urbina travelled to Agua Prieta for a 20th-anniversary celebration.  Many visitors and Café Justo supporters also came to Agua Prieta to listen to and visit with the farmers, enjoy music, participate in workshops, eat lots and lots of good food, and drink Café Justo.  The following week, a US delegation visited Salvador Urbina for another anniversary celebration.

  • Pray for the continued success of Café Justo.
  • Rejoice that the farmers have provided economic security for their families, so they do not have to migrate. 
  • Mourn the deaths of the thousands of migrant people who have died in the desert because they could not provide for their families in their homeland.
  • Pray for an equitable system where migration is not criminalized.

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