Equal Exchange

Planting Seeds for the Future: Fair Trade Coffee from Mexico

CRS Staff

En español

On July 31, 2002, Pope John Paul II declared a humble, indigenous Mexican man a saint. Yet, long before Our Lady’s apparitions, Juan Diego worked the land, just like many of the indigenous peoples of his day—caring for his beloved homeland and family.

In his address at the canonization of Juan Diego in Mexico, Pope John Paul II stated:

The noble task of building a better Mexico, with greater justice and solidarity, demands the cooperation of all. In particular, it is necessary today to support the indigenous peoples in their legitimate aspirations, respecting and defending the authentic values of each ethnic group. Mexico needs its indigenous peoples and these peoples need Mexico!

While Saint Juan Diego planted the seed for building a ‘better Mexico,’ similar indigenous communities continue to work the land and care for the earth, la tierra, today—most notably those working the coffee lands in Oaxaca.

Nestled in the mountains of Oaxaca, farmers are hard at work cultivating coffee and doing it with ‘greater justice and solidarity’ than ever before.

Primarily comprised of members of Mixteco, Zapoteco and Mixe indigenous groups, CEPCO— short for Coordinadora Estatal de Productores de Café de Oaxaca—is a cooperative leading the way for high quality, fair trade coffee in Mexico. Through their United States-based partner Equal Exchange, delicious, organic coffee is accessible to us every day!


For many years, CRS dreamed of creating a coffee in partnership with Equal Exchange, sourced from communities where we both work. We are excited to share that this dream has become reality in Mama Tierra—a fair trade organic coffee from farmers in Oaxaca.

What’s unique about Equal Exchange is that they pay farmers a fair price for their coffee, establish long term contracts and invest in community development projects. Even more, fair trade companies like Equal Exchange and International Development Organizations like CRS work side-by-side to support coffee-farming communities. CRS helps the same farmers protect their local water sources from coffee waste water contamination, and trains farmers on practices that reduce harm to the land and increase yields.

Proceeds from the sales of Mama Tierra benefit CRS’ work with coffee farming communities throughout Central America. By helping farmers create democratically run cooperatives, grow more resilient coffee and protect local streams from coffee waste, CRS is helping to strengthen coffee farming communities and ensure they can produce coffee for years to come.

CRS receives a $2 donation for every bag of Mama Tierra coffee purchased, but when you buy a case or more to share with your community (or sell after Mass), you get a lower price and CRS gets a $5 contribution for every case. Purchase some today and make your morning coffee more meaningful!

As we celebrate Mama Tierra—Mother Earth—we ask for the intercession of Saint Juan Diego, protector and advocate of indigenous peoples, and pray for those who work the land and cultivate the coffee we enjoy.

Purchase Mama Tierra