Tropic Essences and FairTSA

Community Development

2018 - 2020

   Producers are at the heart of FairTSA Fair Trade certification. Together through community development projects and capacity building we are helping to directly impact the agricultural communities that grow and process our food. 

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   Tropic Essences in Yali, Nicaragua, is a FairTSA Fair Trade certified producer of chia. Since 2018, they have collaborated with FairTSA on yearly infrastructure projects that will help bring independence and financial security to their rural communities. In recent years, the drastically fluctuating market price of chia has jeopardized the livelihood of these rural farmers, despite the grain’s growing value as a popular superfood. To counteract such instability, FairTSA institutes a Fair Price Premium, and if necessary, sets a minimum price so that producers never take a loss on their harvest. These measures, in addition to yearly community development projects, create the stability necessary for rural communities in Yali to thrive and build for the future. 

Chia Cultivation in Nicaragua

   Chia has been cultivated in Nicaragua for centuries, with usage dating back to 3500 B.C. In ancient Mesoamerica, the Aztecs found chia to be especially beneficial and utilized the grain in food, medicine, and ceremonial tribute. Today in Yali, rural producers grow chia at high elevations of around 900 meters. Due to a recent rise in chia popularity as a source of protein and Omega3, these producers have been able to subsist off the cultivation of the grain, which grows naturally in the region and is environmentally stable. Additionally, pesticides are largely unnecessary due to the essential oils naturally  occurring in the plant’s leaves. Chia thus provides a durable, ecologically friendly income source that allows rural people to maintain their regional culture and preserve their habitat.

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   Tropic Essences is looking to expand its capacity to continue supporting its farmer community. Steadily they have been working to integrate other crops into their agriculture, especially with coffee, beans, and chamomile. To this end they are partnering with a cooperative called SOPROCOM that works with red beans from the same producers in the La Concordia and Yali areas. In 2019 they obtained assistance from the World Food Program (WFP) and this year they will together purchase of a packing machine  and a sorting machine to decrease manual labor and increase quality.  

2020 CDP- Expanding crops, Consolidating Cooperatives 

2019: Children’s school Supplies 

   This project had as its main objective the strengthening of education for children in the communities of La Bolsa and La Colmena in order to provide necessary resources for effective learning and better futures. This support will also have a significant impact on the economy of low-income families. The children from rural farming families will be better prepared to face the challenges of the future, with skill sets to go forward in life. 

   This project had as its main objective the strengthening of education for children in the communities of La Bolsa and La Colmena in order to provide necessary resources for effective learning and better futures. This support will also have a significant impact on the economy of low-income families. The children from rural farming families will be better prepared to face the challenges of the future, with skill sets to go forward in life.  

   Community members of the villages of La Bolsa and La Colmena decided to support the education of 50 preschool-age children belonging to 12 chia-producing families in the villages of La Bolsa and La Colmena, as well as their teachers. To help best prepare these students for academic success, social premium funds were used to purchase backpacks, notebooks, water bottles, teaching supplies, writing utensils, and other scholastic necessities each year. Teachers were given similar kits with extra supplies and teaching materials, and a blackboard was purchased. A community event was also organized for participants to generate enthusiasm for preschool education and its capacity to prepare students for continued scholastic success, and teachers were. 

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Community Development In Nicaragua 

   Due to the current socio-political upheaval in Nicaragua, Tropic Essences have struggled to access the labor, financing, and logistical support necessary for chia cultivation. Regardless, the communities at La Bolsa and La Colmena managed to continue their FairTSA Community Development by providing students with new school supplies, uniforms and teaching materials. Additionally, the community organized community cleaning days, landfill upkeep, and info sessions to learn about their natural environment and understand how to best preserve its unique biodiversity. 

   Community members of the villages of La Bolsa and La Colmena decided to support the education of 50 preschool-age children belonging to 12 chia-producing families in the villages of La Bolsa and La Colmena, as well as their teachers. To help best prepare these students for academic success, social premium funds were used to purchase backpacks, notebooks, water bottles, teaching supplies, writing utensils, and other scholastic necessities each year. Teachers were given similar kits with extra supplies and teaching materials, and a blackboard was purchased. A community event was also organized for participants to generate enthusiasm for preschool education and its capacity to prepare students for continued scholastic success, and teachers were. 

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