With the advent of Café Femenino, women have been empowered to gain access to land, farm their own coffee, and sell it under the Café Femenino brand. Café Femenino is now a respected, fair trade organic coffee brand available around the world. Café Femenino growers receive an additional premium for their coffee and are able to apply for funding through the charitable foundation attached to the to support community projects in areas such as education, health, sustainable agriculture and equality in the growers’ home communities.
The Café Femenino Foundation, named in honor of 464 courageous Peruvian women who made a decision to try to improve their own lives though their work in coffee production, was formed in December 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to provide grants to programs and projects that enhance the lives of women and their families in coffee-producing communities around the world.
Behind the impetus to create a foundation that was focused on helping women and their families in coffee communities was Garth and Gay Smith, who in 2004 were importing and selling organic and fair trade coffees from around the world. What they found in traveling to these remote coffee communities was women who had no voice or say in any family decisions, had no control of the family resources; essentially had no rights, socially, politically, or economically. They were poor, uneducated, and lived in isolation, all of which contributed to phenomenal rates of abuse. Though the Smith's no longer import coffee, they are still committed to the mission of helping coffee families around the world through the Café Femenino Foundation.
The foundation has operated for over almost ten years now. The foundation has funded all types of grants, from community gardens, animal breeding programs, health programs, sanitation programs, water projects, income diversification trainings, nutrition trainings, only to name a few. It has made a huge difference for coffee producers in over ten different countries.