There is something to be said for having vision…

By “vision” we mean creative power and imagining the future with wisdom. Being a visionary involves risk taking, being unafraid to fail, having the capacity to readjust and the strength to stay the course.

“A creative visionary sees the reality of pain, suffering, and confusion in the world and are moved by ceaseless compassion for their fellow man to imagine and act in order to create a better world. They cross the abyss and return transformed. Their compassion harmonizes with wisdom and a disciplined mind. Embodiment is a Creative Visionary’s highest aim. A vision only comes to fruition through the people who have the will to embody it.”
― Dana Hutton

Three generations of the Mann Family
(L-R) Richard Mann Jr., Michael Mann and Richard Mann Sr.

During the early 1960’s, missionary Dick Mann, presented to Thailand’s former King Bhumibol Adulyadej the very first coffee plant as a vision project to help eradicate opium growing while replacing it with coffee as a cash crop. He contributed and introduced much agricultural research
on coffee and other crops at that time. Michael Mann, the director of I.T.D.F. has carried on his father’s legacy through his own vision, a vision that has taken time, patience, perseverance and a lot of hard work. Most of all, he has a passion and belief that coffee isn’t just a great beverage to drink. The vision is about building relationships, trust and coming alongside with a helping hand to the hill tribe farmers and their families.

I.T.D.F. has been giving hill tribe farmers this opportunity through their micro-loan program for over 26 years. This has given farmers the
ability to start their own coffee business that they could never have been able to accomplish without this capital. The I.T.D.F. micro-loan program is giving them the peace of mind that they will not be taken advantage of. The growers are given above fair market prices for their coffee by eliminating the middleman.

To date, the I.T.D.F. coffee micro-loan program has been highly
successful on many different levels: For starters, statistically there has never been a default on a loan… EVER! Lanna Coffee International and Lanna Coffee Co are changing lives every single day through direct trade of green coffee beans from the farmers to restaurants, grocers and into homes where the effect is life changing – one cup at a time.

I.T.D.F. knows that man cannot live on coffee alone. The visionary quest involves the search for new opportunities for cash crops to help villagers sustain themselves. The I.T.D.F. Organic Peppercorn Project started as a new vision project 2 ½ years ago and continues to be monitored and assessed for its growth, development and hopeful sustainability as a cash crop for the Hill Tribe families. These vision projects take time, patience and perseverance.

Tewan is an I.T.D.F. agricultural staff member and the project manager who has diligently monitored and nurtured it from its birth. This year has produced the first harvest and although it is not large enough for export, there is more than enough to be sold in the new Lanna Cafe opening this summer as well as in local farmer’s markets. Tewan has developed some awesome packaging depicting its content and how each purchase helps the hill tribe people. We look forward to hearing and sharing more as this project continues.

Tewan, I.T.D.F. black pepper project manager, drying the organic peppercorns after harvest.

If you are moved by this vision and feel your heart to help us bring these farmers visions of starting their own coffee business a reality, please click here to find out more and to donate.

The featured photo at the top of this blog is Richard Mann Sr. introducing the first coffee plant to former King of Thailand as a vision project to help eradicate opium.