Originally, Atenas’ coffee was processed and marketed by foreign coffee farmers, who imposed their little-beneficial commercial terms. This caused a growing awareness about limitations to increase life quality by individual efforts in Atenas’ coffee farmers, which resulted in the importance of an organization outside their property.
In the fifties, Atenas had only one very limited coffee processing plant, which didn’t count with cutting-edge technology.
One of the managers of Atenas bringing cooperative examples to farmers was Priest Luis Villegas. He embodies a pushing leader beyond his appearance. He advised the farmers in his parish to start a project that needed a visionary and optimistic attitude.
That’s how coffee farmers became aware of their critical situation due to the current private coffee processing farmers. So, in December 1968 they made the decision to start the central committee of organization for the new cooperative, consisting of: President Leónidas López Guzmán, Vice president Javier Rojas Ruiz, Secretary Adrián Prado Jenkins, Treasurer José Carlos Vargas Morera, Member Norberto Vargas Hernández, Víctor Julio Campos Barrantes, Daniel Rodríguez Castro, Ramón Ávila Vega and Coordinator Priest Luis Villegas Muñoz.
On August 10th, 1969, after the committee’s hard work, they decided to found COOPEATENAS alongside Priest Luis Villegas, promotor of the cooperative movement, and 96 visionary coffee producers. They joined their efforts and decided to cultivate, industrialize and market their coffee through a cooperative organization. Since then, COOPEATENAS forged its way in Atenas, district of Alajuela, Costa Rica, a beautiful land famous for having “the best weather in the world”, which is a great attractive for thousands of national and international visitors each year. It houses the famous “Toronjas Rellenas” (grapefruit with filling) and the Río Grande train station, a staging and transit road from the beginning of the XIX century.