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Indiegogo Fundraising Project

Indigogo Fundraising Project

My name is Chuck Rolfe. I’m an American living in the Philippines.  I’m semi-retired and I live in the Philippines because it’s very inexpensive  and it’s an interesting and exciting lifestyle.  I enjoy the travel, the culture, and the climate.

Although I spent most of my life working as a Construction professional, I have owned my own small businesses and in my later career worked as a trouble shooter/consultant with small businesses that were in trouble or needing advice and assistance to survive.

During my stay here I‘ve  met a lot of local people and one family, in particular,has ‘adopted’ me and we’ve become really close. I’m a grandfather to the kids, an Uncle,  a Brother, and now I will be a godfather for one of the daughters.

The unofficial ‘head’ of the family is a lovely young woman named Elvira Ansino.  Her father actually served in the US Army here and his 9 children were raised with an English language ability and a certain curiosity and fondness for Americans.

The Ansino family planted and developed  small coffee farms in the mountains above their town. Elvira, at the side of her father and older siblings, planted thousands of coffee trees when she was a child and over the years has worked with the coffee business and taken over most of her father’s duties as he grew older.

Part of her experience in the mountains was befriending the local native population, learning their language, and helping when she could with their many problems as the world modernized and their territory and way of life shrunk.

The natives speak their own language and don’t relate well to their Filipino neighbors who are small coffee farmers.  They live as much as possible in the old ways, and have difficulty adjusting. They don’t do well with gardening or raising small animals. They are used to living off of the land, catching wild animals for food, and eating vegetation found in the forest.

The small Fillipino farmers know a bit about gardening and supplement their diet by buying rice from the town and sometimes dried fish or pork. They all raise chickens for eggs and protein.

Life is very difficult for both the natives and the small farmers.  They have the ability to grow vegetables but only grow what they can consume because there is no electricity,  no storage, and no way to take their products to the market in town where they could easily sell the excess from their gardens and earn extra cash.

They don’t have transportation and can’t get to town easily. There are motorcycles for hire and large cargo trucks if you can afford them but none of these people can.  When they sell their coffee, they pay a motorcycle driver to haul two bags of coffee to the  mill. They have an arrangement with the mill to pay the driver and take the fee out of their coffee sale.

At the mill, they pay for drying the fresh coffee cherries on a drying slab… usually takes four days… and then they pay for the milling of the dried beans into green coffee beans which are bagged and sold to the coffee buyers that come to the mill.

Also, during the year, the growers borrow money against their future harvest  to buy food and supplies and other family needs.  They sometimes borrow from a legitimate ‘Farmer’s Bank’ but usually get turned down so they fall back to black market lenders and pay high interest rates…often as much as 12%.

So, at the end of the season when they harvest and sell their coffee crop, they pay for transportation, drying, processing, bagging, and selling the beans. They they have to pay back the loans… in full… and what is left isn’t enough to live on, so the whole process begins again… toiling in the fields and borrowing to stay alive.

It’s a form of slavery!

Life Changing Project

Our Project will dramatically change the lives of these people! A small investment will make a huge change in the lives and farms of the locals.  There are about 35 native families living in our area and more than 100 small Filipino farmers there.

By adding new skills, new products for sale, expanding the size and quality of their coffee farms, and eliminating or reducing most of their extraordinary expenses, the quality of life on the small farms in the mountains above Lebak will improve today… and for generations to come.

This is a ‘Life Changing’ project that will benefit at least this small population of simple, yet wonderful, loving, people.

We will, depending upon the success of the funding project, add the following:

  • Professional Agriculturalist.  We will engage the services of a professional agriculturalist to work with the farmers to develop good strong gardens with crops that will sell in the market in enough quantity to make it worth the time and effort. (part time contract worker that will cost about $5,000 a year)
  • Arabica Coffee Trees.  Arabica coffee is a premium quality.  One of the most famous coffees in the world is the ‘Jamaican Blue Mountain’ bean which is shade grown in mountains above 3,000 feet…exactly our conditions… and Arabica beans bring three or more times the price of the Robusta beans we grow now. We want to grow a premium coffee and find a good market for it.  We will utilize the skills of our Agriculture specialist to introduce a  separate plot of Arabica coffee trees on each participating coffee farm. We will train the  farmer in the care and nurturing of these new trees and we will purchase and deliver up to 100 new trees to each farmer and supervise the planting of the trees.  (We plan on buying about 10,000  Arabica trees for this project. Trees cost about $1 each)
  • Transportation.  We will buy and maintain a small truck that can handle the mountain roads with  ease, carry decent sized loads and passengers, and be able to make a trip to the market in Lebak on Wednesdays and Saturdays which are the market days there. This truck will also be used to haul the coffee harvest  to the mill for drying and processing. (A good used truck here will cost about $10,000)
  • Drying and Processing.  We are working with the owner of a small mill to build  a special type of ‘wet’ mill for our beans.  We will assist him in buying the equipment and building the mill. Right now we have to dry our beans on a slab for about four days before we can process them.  This harvest occurs during the rainy season and it rains almost every day which means that our beans need to be raked into a windrow and covered with a tarp every time it rains.  This extends the drying time by days.  By using a ‘wet’ mill we can extract the bean without drying and save that trouble and time and get our beans to market faster.  That means we get paid faster. ( It will cost about $5,000 to build this mill.)
  • Export Market.  Right now the only market for our coffee beans is the local buyer… most of these beans get purchased by a huge European company and the price is pretty much controlled by that company.  These beans are a variety called Robusta and it is ‘rougher’ stronger, and has a very high caffeine content.  By introducing Arabica beans, which are higher quality and more in demand internationally, we can triple the income from coffee sales. We will develop an International sales process which will include a website and a marketing effort to sell oour crops into a world coffee market instead of selling to the local buyer.  (It will cost about $5,000 to create and operate a full marketing program that will include websites and marketing services as well as a plan to meet and nurture partnerships wiith coffee roasters and wholesalers in the International Market place.)

Expenses.  There will be a considerable expense involved in creating and managing this project.  We assume that there will be costs for incidentals, miscellaneous supplies, and other unexpected expenses(Minimum set aside will be $3,000)

If we don’t reach our entire goal.

If for some reason we don’t reach our entire goal, we will spend the  money as effectively as possible by working with whatever funds we do receive  to do the most good.

If we exceed our goal.

      If we exceed our goal, and I pray for that to happen, we have a whole list of other things we can do to enhance this project and the lives of the people we’re trying to help.   These are things like food preservation equipement,  supplies and training. (bottling, canning, drying) Without refrigeration the fresh food has a very short lifespan and with a preservation operation we could give the products a shelf life and also open another market for sales and income.

There are a few other ideas related to coffee… like a wonderful native brewing method that involves a hardwood stand that’s hand carved and a net sack that’s suspended over a cup. The grounds are put in the sack, hot water is added, and the coffee drips down  into the cup… a native version of the drip coffee method. The coffee marker is unique to the area, hand made by natives, it’s beautiful and rare.  I think we could start a cottage industry with off season manufacturing of this and other craft items that are common in this mountainous area.

The Impact

Our campaign and the difference your contribution will make:

I recently saw a funding project for a little old lady who worked as a bus monitor. She was harassed by some children on the bus and it was caught on a video camera.  She asked for a couple of thousand for a vacation and ended up raising over $700,000.

A contributor can impact on the life of one person but could also contribute to a project that will make an impact on the lives of hundreds and even on a town, region, country, or the world.

Our project has a far reaching effect on the natives and small farmers that we want to help. It will improve their lives and the lives of generations to come. Also, the trickledown effect applies in the sense that the increased income will flow into the town, the markets, and the small businessmen there and in a broader sense will impact on the country of the Philippines and perhaps in a small way on the entire world.

There has been a lot of political and religious strife in the Philippines and especially in the Southern Mindanao area. Part of the problem has been a certain jealousy between groups such as the Christians and Muslims and in a way this can be related to living conditions and economic disparities.

We have found that in our region there have been some violent outbursts between the Natives and Small farmers and townspeople and these usually result from hunger and desperation and seeing someone nearby living in prosperity while you are suffering.

Our project will tend to bring these groups together. They will become better acquainted, get to know each other and appreciate the living conditions and the difficulty faced by the various groups.

By joining together in this project, working together for the common good, and helping each other along as the changes take place, the end result will be a loss of anger and jealousy and a new camaraderie amongst the people that will be touched by this project.


Other Ways You Can Help

Some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help:

Get the word out and help us make some noise about our campaign.

Please use the Indiegogo share tools!


Please visit our website for more information

and to see some more interesting videos and photographs!

Perks Offered to Our Contributors


$5USD          Your name added.

Your name will be added to our commemorative plaque and to or website as an honored sponsor.

   $10USD          Thank you !

A beautiful personal thank you letter in color on our farm stationary mailed to you and your name added to our website

   $25USD          Certificate

The above, plus a beautiful color frame-able ‘Farm Supporter’ certificate mailed to you and your name added to a Commemorative plaque at the farm.

$50USD          Your name on a tree

All of the above, plus coffee tree named in your honor. Your name will be attached to a new coffee tree on our farm. (digital photo of your tree will be emailed to you)

$75USD      Two # Of Our Special Coffee

Two pounds of special coffee beans from our farm. Green beans or roasted…whole beans or ground. Shipped to you from Atlanta. (US customers only) (International customers please inquire)

$100USD          Beautiful ‘T’ shirt

Your name on a tree plus a beautiful ‘ ‘T’ ‘ shirt with Colorful Farm Logo mailed to you. (S,M,L,Xl,2xl sizes only)

$150USD          Farm Logo coffee Cup

Your name on a tree plus a beautiful ceramic coffee cup with our colorful and exotic label installed. Rare!

  $250USD          Ebook and video

Copy of our new ‘Best cup of coffee’ Ebook and a new video depicting our story. (Your name in credits) (Digital products)

$350USD          Native coffee maker

Unique handmade Native Coffee maker shipped to you. Hand crafted from local hardwoods. Unique design. Hand made by native craftsman. (Rare one of a kind, only 10 made)

$1,000USD          ‘Your Label’

Private label. Your own coffee label designed by us and attached to your own coffee orders. Order any amount at your special price and we will ship anywhere in US. (Includes ten pounds of any variety roasted and shipped to you.

$5,500USD          Visit our Farm and see project

Visit our Farm as an honored guest. We meet you at airport in Manila and escort you to Lebak. You will be transported to our farm in the mountains, meet the natives and local small farmers, see the gardens, new coffee plantings, and existing coffee trees. You will see the drying and processing facilities and see the entire operation plus you will meet all of the owners and family members. (You pay airfares, hotels, meals, and out of pocket expenses.)

$12,000USD          Sponsor your own  small coffee farm.

Sponsor Your own coffee farm. A small coffee farm with 500 new Arabica coffee trees planted. (will produce in three years) Also planted with coconut and banana trees for shade. Managed for you by our Family Farm. Visit your farm anytime. (We will include the visitation package #12.) Note: Just like ours, there are no legal paper titles for this land, we will be given a certificate only. Land is defined by meets and bounds descriptions and knowledge and understanding of locals as to ownership.

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