A study abroad trip to Guatemala led three Michigan State alumni to create a coffee trade business called Radical Coffee Project, helping Guatemalan coffee growers living in poverty earn fair prices for their labor.
The 2018 graduates are part of the Spartan Global Development Fund, or SGDF, an initiative made up of a registered student organization and a non-profit organization. SGDF works toward “raising funds locally in order to offer interest-free microloans to aspiring entrepreneurs throughout developing regions of world.”
“For me, what really got the wheels turning in terms of moving from lending to starting the Radical Coffee Project was (a) realization,” SGDF president Scott Lyman, one of the alumni who helped launch the project, said. “We were in the position to support these rural farmers in a sustainable way, not just a temporary fix.”
Radical Coffee Project — which purchases coffee beans directly from the Chacaya Coffee Cooperative in Guatemala — gives $4.25 per pound to the farmers, a larger amount of profit than they would have gotten in their own market.