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Coffee customers can buy into 'grow your own' scheme and help farmers

Suffolk coffee company Paddy & Scott's has launched a new scheme allowing customers to invest directly into its farm in Kenya. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Suffolk coffee company Paddy & Scott's has launched a new scheme allowing customers to invest directly into its farm in Kenya. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Lucy Taylor Photography

A groundbreaking fair trade project has taken root in Suffolk to empower coffee farmers in rural East Africa.

A model working farm has been established at Ruiga School to teach children modern coffee farming methods. Proceeds from the sale of the school farm coffee are being used to provide school places. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYA model working farm has been established at Ruiga School to teach children modern coffee farming methods. Proceeds from the sale of the school farm coffee are being used to provide school places. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Believed to be a ‘world first’ link between consumer and crop, the scheme aims to give coffee lovers a clear conscience by allowing them to buy beans picked from their own tree in Kenya.

Suffolk company Paddy & Scott’s is hoping to cause a ‘coffee revolution’ with the new venture, by giving customers the chance to invest in one of 4,000 allocated membership plots on its Muchomba Farm estate.

In development for the last year, the initiative launched this week for the Christmas gift market.

Chief executive of the firm, founded in Earl Soham 10 years ago, Scott Russell said: “The only real way to help the coffee families, and the wider community, is to go straight to the source and pay more for the raw product. So, we started a mission to cut out the middle men.”

The Muchomba farm, based in Meru, Kenya. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYThe Muchomba farm, based in Meru, Kenya. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

The Muchomba family farm is based in Meru, on the eastern side of Mount Kenya, where the workers are paid a fair wage and benefit from local investment.

The ‘Farm Membership’ scheme will allow subscribers to visit the farm, meet George Muchomba’s family, and even tend their tree.

Mr Russell said: “We are excited about our coffee tree membership program, allowing customers the opportunity to experience the harvest and enjoy exclusive Paddy & Scott’s coffee delivered personally to their door from our coffee farm.

“With updates on production throughout the year, membership will also, most importantly, help support the Meru farming community welfare.”

Paddy & Scott's is giving people the chance to invest in a membership plot on its Muchomba Farm estate. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHYPaddy & Scott's is giving people the chance to invest in a membership plot on its Muchomba Farm estate. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Included in membership is a farm pass card, tree plot number and entry into a competition to win a trip to Kenya, where Paddy & Scott’s also supports development of the Meru Community Farm Project and Field Training School for children to learn coffee farming methods.

Mr Russell said: “Our mission was to really be involved with the local community and redress the shameful way coffee farmers are paid so very little for their harvest.

“We wanted to help George Muchomba and his family create a model farm that channelled a larger proportion of what you pay for your cup of coffee back to the farm.”

For full details on the Farm Membership scheme, visit paddyandscotts.co.uk.

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