The year on the farm passes permeated with events full of learning, contemplation, and joy. Immersed in nature, with its exceptional beauty, constant changes, genuinely prosperous, plentiful, and generous, we see the days passing as if they were all a feast. A place where the work fuels the soul with mirth, lightness, happiness, and gratitude. A sacred space where moving through everyday work involves mixing, at the same time, with the spontaneous and natural events of nature. A sanctuary of heartfelt love, where the tasks sprout like seeds that emerge to adorn life with its exuberance or to fill the womb with all that is everlasting, has ardor and passion.
Farms Caxambu and Aracaçu are committed to offering knowledge and promoting actions that grant and reinforce the importance of women's work. That is why each year, the Farms promote at least one course designed for them, especially in the area of gastronomy. In partnership with Senar (National Rural Learning Service), which offers various educational training courses, on April 4, 5 and 6, the Farms were offered the course of Artisan Dessert Production and snacks for parties, in which all women were able to cook recipes and learn production techniques. The workshops give women the opportunity to take the knowledge to their kitchen and also, if they wish, to use what they have learned to supplement their incomes, thus empowering female entrepreneurship. "We are always concerned about raising the status of women through education, raising awareness and training and we work hard on gender issues and women's empowerment. In the Farms, the women are in the decision-making process of the team" said Ucha.
Every year, the Farms Caxambu and Aracaçu promote Health Day, an event that is part of the social project developed within the Sustainability Program in order to provide care and knowledge to all employees. In 2019 the Health Day took place on March 21st and was attended by doctors, physiotherapists, nurses and technicians in occupational safety technicians. Professionals conducted audiometric tests and routine blood tests to assess the health, always aiming at prevention and improvement in the quality of life of employees. Several lectures were also given by these professionals, who approached topics such as: importance and appropriate way of waste sorting, care for the environment, basic first aid, how to deal with venomous animals and a lecture on female empowerment, reinforcing the importance of women in the Farms workforce. These moments are always open to the dialogue and so that everyone can ask questions about the issues addressed. To close with a golden key, there was a good chat and a good coffee with the whole team to share the knowledge and exchange experiences.
The Farms Caxambu and Aracaçu are located among the mountains of Três Pontas, a city in the South of Minas Gerais. With altitudes between 930 and 1150 meters, together both farms form a complex with 380 hectares of area, producing 9,500 bags of coffee annually catering to the most demanding markets and consumers in the world. Farm Caxambu has a total of 211 hectares, 120 of them with coffee plantations, over 60 of legal reserve and permanent preservation areas (APP, acronym in Portuguese) and an area of approximately 10 hectares for processing and coffee making facilities. On the other hand, Farm Aracaçu has a total of 170 hectares, 115 of them in coffee plantations and 45 hectares of reserve and permanent preservation areas, and it is also a great source of water springs that are preserved with respect and responsibility. The history of the Farms began more than a hundred years ago. At the beginning, Farm Caxambu was inherited by Ivone, who was then married to Francisco José. The two then began life amid the coffee plantations and milk production. In a short time, they acquired Farm Aracaçu, which was owned by Ivone's sister. Currently, the third generation of the family is managing the Farms, and the fifth generation is already being prepared to assume, in the future, the family business which has coffee as its development center. In the Farms, all the activities are carried out within an integrated system of agro ecological production, always focusing on a systemic approach that seeks to balance the environment, possessing the important certifications UTZ, BSCA, Certifica Minas, 4C, Fairtrade and Rainforest. This approach is taken in crop management, considering environmental conservation and biodiversity at the same time as coffee cultivation, considering and respecting the biological cycles and also ensuring the life quality of employees. Innovating and always expanding its portfolio through new techniques, preparation methods, technologies diversification and genetic materials, as well as controlled and wild fermentation processes for greater sensorial amplitude, thus offering diverse and differentiated coffees, such as Hydro-Honey, Afro-Honey, Black-Honey, and others. It has a seed bank with more than 40 varieties tested with focus of resistance to rust and coffee quality. The work I develop seeks to integrate technological innovations into a production system already enshrined by excellent productivity, which makes the challenge even more special. Techniques such as pruning and trimming new buds, planting alignment, Brachiaria utilization as cover plant, suitable phosphorus dosage in fertilizers and use of organomineral fertilizer were initially tested and approved at Farms, serving as a model for other coffee growers in the region. The management of the Farms is carried out by Ucha and Nando, while Marquinhos is responsible for coordinating a very dedicated and efficient team of employees. The strategies are always widely discussed, the actions are taken within a rigid timetable, and the decisions are made with a focus on presenting a unique and differentiated product to the costumers, regardless of increased production costs. I thank the Farms Caxambu and Aracaçu family, who both trust and support my work.
At the Farms Caxambu and Aracaçu, the coffee trees are in the growth and development phase, preparing the fruit for its moment of accomplishment. The fruit, still unripe, daily manifest its potential until it is ripe enough for harvest, when it will express its best features through the care taken at each stage of production. While all this physiological path occurs at the coffee crop, all the costumers and visitors are granted with flowers and exotic plants, performing a visual show every day. "The days at the Farms have being amazing, with nature enchanting us daily while we cherish the crops, what gives us great pleasure waiting for the harvest time, that is so sacred to us", Ucha said.