Life in the jungle of Peru is as different from university life on a well manicured campus overlooking the ocean in San Diego as it can be. After finishing school, Courtney Walters (click here to check out our interview with Courtney) headed to Peru to live in a community dedicated to sustainable living and permaculture. Being close to nature and the source of food had been important to Courtney ever since she was a child growing up on an urban farm.
The first cup of coffee Courtney drank in Peru had not much in common with the typical brew many drink in the United States. Courtney found that it was so delicious, so different from anything she had tasted that she wanted to find out why this coffee was so special.
This picture shows Courtney in her home in Peru, sipping a cup of the delicious coffee.
She got to know the land and the people quiet well while working on projects and visiting many coffee and cacao plantations.
In Peru, Courtney spent a lot of time in the jungle. Sitting in a tree is probably as close to immersing oneself in nature as possible. This picture is of a cacao tree.
While surrounded by trees and wildlife, she practiced meditation on a regular basis. During her practice, she realized that family and community were and are very important to her. Even though Courtney loved her life in Peru, she realized that her ties, her family and her community were in San Diego. However, she also had made great friends and become part of a community in Peru. Add to this her now extensive knowledge about anything having to do with coffee, and an idea was born.
Enter Jorge Urquieta. This picture was taken in Pacasmayo Peru. Jorge is the son of a local farmer who was able to attend University and then return to the farm. He is working with local farmers to only use the most sustainable methods in growing their crops and to sell their coffee directly to the roasters instead of going to countless middlemen. This not only ensures a fair compensation to the farmer, but also gives a better coffee end product. Between Jorge’s knowledge and activism on behalf of the farmers and Courtney’s desire to return to her home community in the United States, but to still stay connected to her new community in Peru, a plan and a business were born. Jorge and Courtney became business partners in the great importing adventure of bringing coffee from the farm to the end consumer in the US.
Courtney now makes her home and as much of a garden as she can in Ocean Beach and is busy learning and executing the in and outs of importing and running a business. She also has returned to her University, USD in San Diego, but this time, she is teaching the classes, not taking them. She is reviving a garden on campus which she hopes will with time grow bigger and bigger and will provide fresh fruit and vegetables to students.
here is the link to Courtney’s website: UW Traders