Fundación Agraria y Ambiental Para el Desarrollo Sostentible (FUDAM) is a 300-member association of organic-certified (and Rainforest Alliance–certified) growers that was founded in the year 2000 by just seven producers who shared a vision of sustainable agriculture as well as environmental protection and development. This group of smallholders lives in and around the small municipality of La Unión in Nariño, where the terrain differs greatly from in other coffee-growing areas like Cauca: Instead of walking up from the town to the farms, as elsewhere, here the towns are at such high elevation that the farms are typically lower elevation, surrounded by high peaks and rough road.
FUDAM’s membership believes firmly in the principles of sustainability that drove them to band together in the first place. When asked recently why the group continues to farm organically despite mounting pressure to rely on chemical inputs, the association’s leadership explained, “This is just how we live, these are our values and our way of life.”
The farmers pick their coffee during the day and depulp it in the afternoon, typically fermenting the lots for 16–24 hours dry. The coffees are generally washed two or three times before being dried either in small “casa elbas,” mechanical dryers, or parabolic dryers. The mechanical drying takes between 25–40 hours, while the other drying structures can take up to 15 days.