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Coffee project helping Dominicans

Olds College is brewing success from a new coffee project helping a group of Dominican Republic farmers and their families.

Java lovers have bought more than $12,000 worth of Centennial Dominican Republic Coffee since it started being sold locally and online in December.

There were close to $8,000 in donations as well, bringing the total amount raised to more than $20,000.

Olds College has partnered with Belarminio Ramirez Coffee from the Dominican Republic; UAFAM, a private university in the Dominican; and Coffee Concept out of Calgary to bring coffee from five to eight independent growers.

Ninety per cent of the profit from the sales of this coffee goes towards the Dominican Republic Scholarship Fund, which encourages children to remain in school and supports technical farmer training to enhance both coffee quality and farm revenue.

The college receives 10 per cent of the remaining profits.

Toby Williams, acting director for International and Business Development, was flying to the Dominican Republic late Thursday night with a group of others from the college’s Centre for Innovation.

Some corporate sponsors would be on hand, too.

They would be there for 10 days, during which time they’d give the good financial news to participants.

The independent growers make shade-grown, organic coffee in the region of Jarabacoa. That is where the Olds College group will spend most of their time.

“We’ll actually be planting coffee plants while we’re there,” said Williams on Thursday.

The group will also attend the school where they’ll put up a basketball hoop.

Some netbooks will also be given, and solar panels to charge up these computers in the mountains.

Students from the Olds College Entrepreneurship Club have played a key role in marketing, sales, and distribution of the Dominican Republic Coffee, gaining skills in business, entrepreneurship and social responsibility.

Throughout 2013, Olds College’s centennial year, coffee bags can be purchased at Bean Brokers Cappuccino Bar in Olds, the Olds College Bookstore, and five Co-op stores in Olds, Carstairs, Lacombe and both Red Deer locations.

For more information, visit and click “buy coffee.”



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