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A century of history has helped to shape the farm into a model of ecological sustainability and social responsibility 

Sustainability at the core

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Aquiares has become an international leader in environmental sustainability

As the largest Rainforest Certified Coffee Farm in Costa Rica, we are a pioneer in sustainable practices applied on a large agricultural scale

50,000 shade trees

The farm has planted more than 50,000 shade trees, creating natural buffers around streams and the numerous springs that dot the farm

Fair-pay & safe workplace

From the strict safety standards at the coffee mill to ensuing the proper equipment is while pruning trees, we take  responsibility and feel pride for our team, our community and our coffee

River, soils & wildlife protection

We devote 20% of our land to conservation, providing a healthy home for endemic animals, plants an innumerable bird species 

Medical care & Education

Investing in our employees higher education, company sponsored medical programs and included childcare for seasonal workers is only part of what we do

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Cafetalera Aquiares S.A. is a

CARBON NEUTRAL
company.

Aquiares was recently honored to be included in the Costa Rican Coffee NAMA (Nationally appropriate Mitigation Action). The initiative is an international collaboration that provides technical assistance to coffee mills interested in battling climate change.

The Aquiares team has also gone through the arduous task of generating a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. This inventory reflects the use of petroleum products, biomass combustion, fertilizer and other emissions resulting from the farm's operation.

Rainforest Alliance Certification

As the largest Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farm in Costa Rica, Aquiares has been a pioneer in sustainability, planting more than 50,000 trees and effectively connecting two important wildlife corridors. Now the farm boasts 76 different native tree species and 140 bird species.

 

The farm is held up as a model of the Rainforest Alliance Certification, meeting or exceeded all of its rigorous social and environmental standards since 2003 . 

In 2012, Aquiares became the first farm in Costa Rica to fulfill the requirements of the Rainforest Alliance Climate Module. The Module requires adherence to careful standards of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, which are carefully tracked each season. This certification demonstrates that the farm’s low emissions do not meaningfully contribute to climate change.
 

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Research & Innovation

Aquiares has been home to research studies for decades, starting with early sociological studies in the 1950’s. More recently, Aquiares has been the site for several ongoing environmental research projects.

In 2007, the farm was among the very first to try to calculate its carbon balance. Today, Aquiares is the main test plot for an ongoing project between the CIRAD Institute from France and CATIE University from Costa Rica. The “Carbon-Flux project” measures greenhouse gas exchange between the farm plot and the atmosphere over long-time horizons.

This research station is the only one of its kind in the world, capable of accurately measuring the emission-sequestration balance of a hectare of shaded coffee. With this tool, the researchers are trying to develop a model that can be used by coffee farms around the world to estimate their own carbon sequestration potential. This project is part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change research efforts. Additionally, we have a "variety garden" of 10 hectares contains more than 30 different coffee varieties. This is used for experimentation in cooperation with CATIE and ICafé to investigate new coffee varieties that may have higher yields, better cup quality and improved pest resistance.

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Education

In 2013, Aquiares begin a partnership program with Cornell University. The goal is to provide an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to gain some practice field experience on the farm.

Since then, the interns have already helped shape the farm’s agricultural strategy and community relations. In a recent project, a Cornell intern studied the community and noticed increasing levels of type 2 diabetes in the community. Following that research, it was concluded that diet remained an issue for the community and another intern planned and developed a community organic vegetable garden. The farm donated land for the garden and now a group of local women run the garden as a small business. The relationship with Cornell University has proven to be a win-win. Students are able to immerse themselves in the world of coffee production, and the farm is able to absorb modern knowledge from bright, young students.

Would you like to become an intern or partner?

Aquiares has a proud history of hosting researchers in a diverse group of academic fields - if you are interested in working with us, please reach out

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