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Solstice Coffee supports a fully Indigenous supply chain from farm to cup – StarPhoenix

Oct 24, 2023

Solstice pays Indigenous growers above the cost of production, supports them with affordable small loans, and then brings the coffee to Indigenous roasters in Grasswood.

Businesses and non-profit organizations regularly open and move in Saskatoon. Today the StarPhoenix talks to Solstice Coffee co-founder Alisha Esmail, who collaborated with CEO of Des Nedhe Group Sean Willy to found their company in September.

Solstice Coffee capitalizes on inroads that Esmail has made through her other company — Road Coffee (founded in 2016) — to create a fully Indigenous supply chain that brings coffee from Indigenous growers to Indigenous roasters while making sure that foreign producers, who are often paid less than fair market value for their coffee, are fairly compensated for their hard work. The coffee is currently available to restaurants and corporations, and will be made available for purchase online at a later date.

Q: Why did you found Solstice Coffee?

A: Solstice Coffee, and my original company Road Coffee, are different than every other coffee company out there. Most coffee producers get taken advantage of and paid below the cost of production — they even face predatory lending rates up to 70 per cent. A USDA report last year stated that in Peru it costs $2.50 to produce a pound of coffee, but the average sale price is $1.50. There’s about 35 million coffee farmers in the world, and the majority of them aren’t getting paid properly and still don’t have access to basic needs. And that includes fair trade coffee.

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