Level Ground purchases dried fruit from Fruandes, a Fair Trade organization operating out of Bogotá, Colombia. Fruandes purchases fresh fruit from independent farmers or associations of small-scale farmers.
What began as a desire to address the hard-hit coffee community transformed into a dual mission to protect the marginalized women struggling to survive in Cazuca.
Background of Organization
In 2002, Level Ground sought to respond to the commodity crash that saw the market value of coffee beans reduced to nearly nothing. Our original intent was to support small-scale rural farmers - if farmers were going to survive, they needed to diversify. Fruit, a natural by-product of Colombia’s rich tropical climate, was coffee’s most practical partner. Small-scale coffee farming at high altitudes in rich soil lands like the Andes offered natural shade through high-growing fruit trees. Out of this recognition, Fruandes dried fruit was born.
Giovanni Porras, the director of Fruandes, rented a small space in a low income area, and, by 2002, installed a dehydrator that provided work for six marginalized women struggling to survive in the Cazuca refugee community. Today, there are up to 45 women employed by Fruandes during peak fruit processing periods and we receive around four containers of their dried fruit and sugar a year.
Type of Organization
Independent farmers or associations of small-scale farmers
Pineapple is sourced from the edge of the jungles of Casanare near the Venezuelan border, while mango emerges near the Magdalena River Valley. At the very southern tip of Colombia close to the border of Ecuador in the rural town of Ipiales is the ‘ochouva’ or, the golden berry. Coconut and banana are purchased from Colombia’s coastal regions.
Mango, Coconut, Pineapple, Banana and Golden Berry
Organic Certified by BCS Öko-Garantie
Direct Fair Trade Impact
Fruandes provides its workers with a sustainable wage, vocational training, health care, and education for their children. Three of the original members of Fruandes remain with the organization and have received microcredit loans that allowed for the down payment on a home outside the refugee life of Cazuca.