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Posted on Feb 24, 2013

Olds College Launches Coffee Social Enterprise: Supports Dominican Farmers, Helps Calgary Students Develop Skills

Olds College Launches Coffee Social Enterprise: Supports Dominican Farmers, Helps Calgary Students Develop Skills


Olds College’s new Centennial Coffee is packaged and available for purchase.

The College is currently importing green coffee beans from the Ramirez Coffee Company located at Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. The coffee beans are shade-grown at an elevation of 2,500 feet (800 meters) which helps preserve the environment, control erosion, and create biodiversity. The green beans are roasted monthly in Alberta by Coffee Concept in small batches of about 1,000 pounds to ensure the best quality and taste.

Ninety per cent of the profits from the coffee sales go to a Dominican Republic Scholarship Fund. This unique fund encourages children to remain in school and supports technical farmer training to enhance both coffee quality and farm revenue.

Toby Williams, Project Manager for the Coffee Project, visited the Dominican Republic last spring:

“Once you see how coffee is grown and produced, you will never take it for granted again! It is incredibly hard work, the slopes are so steep that it is impossible to mechanize, and the roads are so bad that transporting the coffee 18 km to town down the mountain takes an entire afternoon.”

The slogan on the coffee bags reads ‘an exotic blend of coffee and education,’ and includes Olds College’s project partners:  Ramirez Coffee; UAFAM, a private university in the Dominican; and Coffee Concept out of Calgary. The back panel tells the story of the project in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. The package also includes a dedication to Dan Fullerton, the former Director of International at Olds who initiated this project. Dan passed away in the fall of 2012 before he could see the project come to fruition. It was his dream to see the project succeed.

Students from the Olds College Entrepreneurship Club have been an integral part of the marketing, sales, and distribution of the Dominican Republic Coffee, gaining real-life skills in business, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. The Dominican Republic Coffee Project is part of a larger initiative to provide all graduates of Olds College with skills in entrepreneurship, marketing, and philanthropy.

Olds College will sell ground and whole bean coffee throughout its Centennial year in 2013. Coffee bags are $15 each with discounts for volume purchases.

For more information, go to and click on “buy coffee”.

Coffee_Card_Front_Grassroots 2

About Olds College:

Founded in 1913, Olds College’s vision is to be the premier Canadian integrated learning and applied research community specializing in agriculture, horticulture, land and environmental management. Located 45 minutes north of Calgary, Olds College prepares students to contribute provincially, nationally and internationally through careers in agriculture, horticulture, environmental land management, agribusiness, and rural entrepreneurship. Olds College provides certificate, diploma and applied degree programs, and participates with other institutions in offering post-diploma degrees.

2013 marks the College’s 100 year Anniversary and events from the Centennial will leave a lasting impression in the form of the Centennial Entrepreneurial Legacy Fund, which will position Olds College “to be indisputably recognized as Canada’s entrepreneurial College.”