MOUNDRIDGE — After five years in business, Legacy Farms Coffee owners Ashley and Julia Williams are not only producing coffee beans, but are also finding other ways to aid their Honduran employees.
When the couple saw the potential to help the Honduran people by starting a farm to employ workers, they purchased land near Cerro Bueno in 2014.
Ashley and Julia encourage their six full-time employees — and dozens of seasonal workers — to become entrepreneurs by getting them the resources they need to learn and use their skills for side businesses.
One employee, Ana, began a venture to make items after teaching herself to use a sewing machine.
"Ana inspects the coffee to make sure they're taking out the defects, but she also inspects the defect bag to make sure they're not putting good coffee in it," Ashley said.
After talking with Ana, Ashley and Julia learned she wanted to support her children's education.
"Ana's goal is to get all her kids to graduate high school, because she only went through the fifth grade," Ashley said.
One of Ana's daughters has already graduated high school and wants to attend college.
"College there is not like college here ... you pay up front there," Ashley explained. "That's why most rich people go to college and most poor people don't."
A sewing machine from ReUseIt became part of their luggage on a trip from Moundridge back to Honduras.
"If you've ever traveled with a sewing machine, it's real fun to try to take it on an airplane," Ashley laughed. "We took one to Ana. She had never sewed, she had no idea what was going on, but she played with it and had a friend come over and show her (how)."
After learning the basics of the sewing machine's operation, Ana made Ashley an apron made from the company's leftover burlap sacks. When he posted a picture of it to social media, requests for similar ones came in.
"The machine broke after that, and then after I worked on it, it was irreparable," Ashley said.
Sensing an opportunity for Ana to make some sales, Ashley drove to the nearest big city to buy her a new sewing machine.
Legacy Farms Coffee buys Ana's items, which include purses and aprons made from the leftover or misprinted burlap bags along with other burlap material printed with a coffee bean pattern for resale in the United States.
Besides the purses and aprons, Ana is also testing patterns for hot pads, coasters and laptop bags.
Ashley and Julia have also constructed a small building on their property in Moundridge from which they can sell Legacy Farms Coffee products.
Legacy Farms Coffee started with one variety, but now offers five varieties of both green and roasted coffee beans to their customers.
"We'll keep 100 bags here (in Moundridge) and 100 bags in Kansas City," Ashley said.
For more information about Legacy Farms Coffee, visit https://legacyfarmscoffee.com or call 620-386-4833.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.