Auburn students help to rebuild Haiti by selling coffee for the SEC Alltech Challenge

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Three Auburn University College of Agriculture students have teamed up with Alltech, an international agriculture company, to sell Haitian coffee to help the people of Haiti rebuild sustainable economic growth, jobs, agriculture and education in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake.

Katie Brennan, Casey Randle and Alexandra Hawkins began selling bags of coffee at the beginning of fall semester as part of the SEC Alltech Challenge, with the goal of 1,500 bags sold before the competition deadline in April. They are competing with students from the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Mississippi State University and Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College for the opportunity to travel to Haiti and help restore the devastated area.

Sixty-five percent of the proceeds goes into a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit fund; the other 35 percent goes to the College of Agriculture’s Ag Council, which works with agricultural organizations on campus.

Brennan, an animal sciences major, is spearheading the campaign after a previous visit to Haiti, where she toured some of the project sites that the coffee sales benefit. “I spent a week in Northern Haiti and the people I met changed my life. In Ouanaminthe, the group I was with helped paint an elementary school, helped build chicken coops, sat in on classes and interacted with the local children,” said Brennan.

The specific brand of Haitian coffee being sold, Café Citadelle, was established to help develop a sales and marketing channel for Haitian coffee. Café Citadelle is a fair trade, shade-grown and handpicked 100 percent Arabica coffee that serves as a sustainable source of income for thousands of Haitian families. Each bag is twelve ounces and is being sold for $12.

“While in Don-Don, Haiti, we toured the coffee co-op and saw the hard work that the local people were putting into rebuilding their community. This is a delicious and unique product that goes toward a worthy cause, so people can enjoy a cup and know that they are contributing to the sustainable future of a nation,” said Brennan.

The funds raised through the campaign help support two Haitian primary schools as well as economic development projects as part of the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project. Each project is organic and sustainable or directly provides enhanced learning experiences for students in schools.

“Proceeds from each bag go directly into the education and enrichment of the families who either attend one of the schools Alltech sponsors or are part of the coffee co-op,” Brennan said.

Alltech founded its Sustainable Haiti Project in 2010 after the devastating earthquake destroyed large parts of the country. Haiti was once a leading coffee producer and Alltech officials believed that the best way to have an immediate and lasting impact in the country would be to build upon the existing Haitian enterprise.

The goal of the Sustainable Haiti Project is to rehabilitate the country by focusing on education by improving and upgrading schools, strengthening local Haitian enterprises and leading various economic development projects through the country.

To purchase a bag of Café Citadelle coffee, contact Katie Brennan at kib0001@auburn.edu.

(Written by Rebecca Orr.)

Contact: Charles Martin, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (marticd@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)