San Juan, PUERTO RICO - Starbucks Puerto Rico recently commemorated the 16th edition of its "Don't Let It Fall" (“No lo dejes caer”) initiative, a movement where Starbucks Puerto Rico partners (employees) support coffee farmers during the busy harvest season by visiting “haciendas” (local farms) across the island to pick ripened coffee cherries that would otherwise fall and go to waste. This year, the company also expanded the program to continue supporting farmers in replanting their lands.
"Getting to know our coffee farmers – being in touch with them and understanding the coffee producing process that takes place in the first 10 feet of the production of this traditional beverage – helps us deepen our coffee knowledge while also harvesting new memories to share with our customers and partners,” said Idis Ortiz López, general manager of Starbucks in Puerto Rico. “We are very happy to resume this meaningful initiative following a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic."
This year, over 75 Starbucks partners volunteered in the community to hand pick coffee cherries. The group visited the Yayales Farm in Adjuntas and Hacienda Encantos in Jayuya.
Additionally, to strengthen its commitment to support local farmers and their families in Puerto Rico and to ensure a sustainable future for coffee, the company expanded the program by partnering with Hispanic Federation – a nonprofit organization that promotes the revitalization of the Puerto Rico coffee industry and helps coffee farmers replant their land – and donated 10,000 coffee trees, as well as lime and fertilizer, to a group of 10 local coffee growers located in the municipalities of Adjuntas, Jayuya, Las Marías, Lares, Maricao, Utuado, Sabana Grande, San Sebastián and Yauco.
Hispanic Federation supported the selection process of the coffee growers based on their performance, current needs, and potential development of their agricultural projects.
Starbucks annual “Don’t Let If Fall” coffee picking event was born in 2005 as an initiative to raise awareness among partners and members of the community about the need for “braceros” (or people who support land work) given the substantial loss of coffee cherries due to lack of farm employees.
With the “Don’t Let It Fall” and coffee tree donation initiatives, Starbucks Puerto Rico remains committed to sourcing coffee responsibly, for the betterment of people and planet, while also working to empower farmers, improve their livelihoods and positively impact their communities.