Earth UniversityJul 31, 2019
In June of 2018 we released a special edition coffee, Guatemala Bella Vista, in conjunction with our first ever film, Flower of Flowers. One dollar from every bag of coffee and can of cold brew sold went to supporting a Guatemalan student’s scholarship to EARTH University. EARTH is a non-profit university in Costa Rica that invests in its students – predominantly from Latin America – helping them work to become leaders of positive socio-economic and environmental change in their home countries.
Now, one year later, we’re happy to share some updates. Who received the scholarship? A young woman named María Alejandra. Hailing from the rural community of Jalapa, Guatemala, she is one of 102 students in her class, and plans to graduate in 2022. As we’ve gotten to know María Alejandra, we’ve learned that she’s a stellar student and an up-and-coming leader. Jalapa’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and the coffee industry; she’s attending EARTH with the intention of becoming a successful agronomist, so she can return home and improve the livelihoods of people in her community.
María learned about agriculture from her father. He’s her greatest role model and she hopes to follow in his footsteps. “As a child, my father would teach me about plants, their properties, and the importance of taking care of the environment. He also taught me to love and care for animals. I love the outdoors and I love helping people, so my path in agriculture was pretty much laid out for me since I was very young.”
She attended high school at a technical agriculture school: “Leaving home to attend high school was one of the hardest things I have had to do. It is a boarding school so I had to move there. I lived three hours away from my home and could only visit my family every four months. However, it taught me to be independent and self-confident, and to work hard. While I was there, I also confirmed that I wanted to be an agronomist and that the only place I saw myself going to university was EARTH.”
María heard about EARTH through a great-uncle who had studied in Costa Rica and knew EARTH very well. When EARTH admissions staff visited her high school they offered her an admissions package. *“I chose EARTH because after doing a lot of research, I saw that this was the only university that focuses on the well-being of people and the environment, as well as on teaching students about entrepreneurship and leadership. There was no other option for me. I didn’t apply anywhere else. When I received the news that I had been accepted in November 2018, I was extremely shocked and very happy! I had bet everything on this opportunity and it paid off. My family, especially my father, is very happy for me and could not be more proud. I am so thankful for the opportunity and for my scholarship, because without the financial support, I wouldn’t be here. ” *
María has started classes and is adapting quickly, “I love the campus. It’s beautiful. I think I’ve adapted quickly because I had already left home to attend high school. My favorite course so far is Natural Sciences. I am also working on creating my own company with a group of peers from Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador and Tanzania. The company is called Mumbati, which means cassava in Swahili. We are going to cultivate and sell 13,000 kilograms of yucca or cassava. We’ve already found buyers and hope to have a great year. I had previous experience because in high school we funded a company that produced corn and fruit and we made cornbread and jams for sale. The team has assigned me to be the Financial Manager and I hope to learn a lot from this experience.”
We believe that the people best positioned to create solutions to sustainability challenges at origin, are those who live at origin. We make sure these efforts are led by institutions like EARTH and local leaders like María. We can’t wait to follow along as she continues her studies, and make positive impacts on global agriculture. Thank you for helping us support this scholarship through your purchase of Bella Vista!