I’m so excited about the on-going construction of Coffee For Peace Bistro, the second Coffee For Peace (CFP) shop. It was first conceptualized 18 months ago when the management team realized the growing market demand for our products and services. The various awards we have been receiving also prompted our clientele, our partners, and our network to suggest the possibility that we can actually provide impact investment opportunities. Coffee For Peace Bistro is our pilot project for this new phase of growth.
Ate Edna. This major project will be managed by Dann’s elder sister, Edna Pantoja, who just decided to retire from her 17-year food business in Shanghai, China. Ate (Elder Sister) Edna has been in the food business and entrepreneurship since she was a young woman, trained by Dann’s mother, the late Mrs. Librada Alba Pantoja. For almost two years, Ate Edna and I have been in dialogue about CFP and her probable involvement in this social enterprise. Last year, she and her business partner, Mary Selorio, visited Davao and took our Peace and Reconciliation Course. They also travelled with us to various fields where our farming partners live. When Dann and I felt that they actually understood what Coffee For Peace is all about, and what it means to be an investing partner in this inclusive development endeavor, we invited Ate Edna and Mary to join us. They agreed to invest in CFP, bringing with them their years of expertise in a global-standard quality food service. They decided to move to Davao and actually risked their retirement savings along with our own meager retirement funds. Our joint investments are dedicated to the establishment of Coffee For Peace Bistro.
Bistro Team. As I continue to have the corporate oversight of Coffee For Peace, Inc. as its CEO, I’m so at peace and have full confidence that this Coffee For Peace Bistro will be managed efficiently and effectively by Ate Edna. She will be assisted by the following key staff:
- Byron Pantoja, who went through the training conducted by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, will be the master barista;
- Nite Alparas, a graduate of the Center for Asian Cullinary Studies, will serve as the chef;
- Mary Selorio , a professional baker who was trained in the United States, will design and serve the pastries.
Ate Edna’s team is now training the newly hired baristas in accordance with CFP’s global quality service standards, which will also include Peace and Reconciliation Course.
The Coffee For Peace Bistro is designed by Swito Architectural Designs, Inc., a Mindanao-based company. I’m so happy that they have interpreted the vision of Coffee For Peace well and have translated it into their poetic design.
Dreams. CFP started as an income generating program (IGP) of the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI). To enable PBCI to become self-sustainable, an IGP was created to support its mission. However, due to the organic social involvement of CFP, it became a separate business entity with the following mission:
- To protect and enhance the environment
- To walk with the farmers as they strive to improve their lives
- To support the peacebuilders on the field.
Coffee for Peace has been training farmers on Arabica production, the principles of fair trade, trading policies and pricing since 2008. Aside from working in Mindanao, CFP has also trained coffee farmers in the Cordillera Region and is looking forward to train more in the different provinces of northern Philippines.
We remain faithful to our company’s Learnings and Commitments:
WALKING WITH THE PEOPLE TOWARDS PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
- We are being taught by the Indigenous People in the Philippines to join them as they journey towards their right to self determination. We will support their view of their future and we will help preserve and nurture their respective Ancestral Domains.
- We have learned to respect the dreams of their elders and we are enriched by listening to the visions of their young people. We will walk with them towards their dream of a sustainable livelihood that respects their culture and dignity as a people.
- We are seeing a lot of Indigenous People living on mountains higher than 500 meters above sea level who have existing coffee trees. We will share a coffee processing technology that would meet the highest local and global standards at Fair Trade prices.
- We are invited to look to the future when all the Indigenous People in this land are trading fairly in local and global markets. We will assist in developing their entrepreneurial skills by practising direct trade philosophies and inclusive business models to the coffee industry.
- We are facing the reality that our resources and the money earned may lead to conflict if we as a community do not prepare or plan for our financial future. We will journey with community leaders and their people in basic conflict resolution approaches and financial management strategies to ensure the sustainability of their culture and resources.