During her Peace Corps service in the Jamaica Blue Mountain region, Mary Bilecki worked with a group of small coffee farmers to re-establish a Rural Agriculture Development Association (RADA) in Cascade focused on intercropping vegetables amongst coffee trees. She also encouraged them to seek fair trade opportunities by registering Cascade Coffee as a Jamaican business and she helped them develop a business plan.
Ms. Bilecki supported her host organization in reaching their goals of processing their community's coffee for profit, eliminating middlemen, and allowing farmers to be paid directly for their high quality product. This included registering the group as an official
Jamaican business and eligibility to apply for funding and become members of the Jamaican Coffee Growers Association.
Ms. Bilecki worked with group members and the wider community to make plans for renovating an abandoned building in the community to be used for processing coffee and serving as a future cafe and tourist destination for those interested in learning more about Blue Mountain Coffee. She also taught adult computer classes to help manage business operations.
Mary’s service and commitment to the Cascade community will always be remembered even after her untimely evacuation during the pandemic. Percy McClarty, President of Cascade Coffee Farmers expressed the communities' deep admiration and respect for Mary and her hard work. She has become like family to the community and keeps in touch with them almost daily. The group was able to advance their agricultural/economic priorities in the short time Mary was with them and they miss her deeply.
By purchasing this amazing 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee you are not only purchasing some of the best coffee in the world but supporting many small farmers and their families through fair trade.