ETHIOPIA: GESHA VILLAGE ESTATE
In November 2015, the Four Letter Word team traveled to Southwest Ethiopia on an adventure of a lifetime. They met Adam & Rachel Overton who began a 500 hectare coffee farm in Gesha, Southwest Ethiopia, in 2011. With Rachel’s roots from Ethiopia, the pair set out on an exploration of how to cultivate the plant and teamed up with the community around them. With the help of coffee researcher and agronomist, Dr. Girma, the team committed the project to educating farmers about agronomy, properly cultivating seeds grown in the natural forest of Gesha and engaging the community of locals with opportunity, such as jobs, schooling and plans for better access to the country’s capital.
Engaging the local Menit (tribe) community was a challenge - there was a stigma against working for someone else, as most people already had their own garden farms. However, over time, and patience, women began working with the farm and since they earned their own income for the first time, this early labor force attracted more and more people, eventually both women and men. Today, GV can attract up to 800 workers per day. These workers come from 5-6 different kebeles (localities)
Social Projects include:
- Providing students among 3 government run schools in the area with school supplies
- Working with the local clinic to figure out the best way to support clinic operations
- Focusing efforts on distributing fuel efficient and cleaner burning stoves to their neighbors
- For the past three years GV has given away 25,000 coffee seedlings/year to neighboring farmers
Gesha Village hopes to grow coffee production in the surrounding area so that local farmers can benefit from the innovations employed at GV.
Research, conservation, and exploration of the Gesha variety are also ongoing focuses of the farm.
Projects include genetic testing, climate research and a Gesha botanical garden.
GOOD TO KNOW: This seed selection has been havested from the Gori Gesha wild coffee forest found 20 km from the farm, the site where the famous Panamanian Gesha was selected in the 1930s, specifically, 1931. It’s the OG. The Original Gesha.