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BUSINESS: Union of Ejidos de la Selva
CITY: Mexico
State/Province:
Country: Mexico
The Unión of Ejidos de la Selva (UELS) represents the commercial and socio-economic interests of some 1,300 smallholder coffee farming families located in five remote highland communities in Chiapas Mexico. It was founded in 1979 by members of the Tzeltal and Tojolabal indigenous communities, located within the Lacandona Reserve in Chiapas, one of the largest and most bio-diverse protected areas in Mexico. The Union’s member ejidos are communally owned areas used for agriculture that were established in the 1930s as part of the sweeping land reform process in Mexico.

The members formed UELS in order to: improve the living conditions of its members, promote sustainable farming practices and the use of natural resources, and develop alternative coffee marketing relationships through strategic alliances and international cooperation.

UELS is a democratic organization. It is governed by an elected Producers’ Board of Directors and holds a General Assembly once a year. Members are also elected to serve on committees that focus on addressing specific needs identified within the communities and the organization itself, such as gender balance, conflict resolution and response to roya.

UELS members have maintained Fair Trade (FLO) and OCIA organic certification for many years, and the organization sells most of its coffee to buyers in Europe and the US.
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