Don Carvajal Cafe
Featuring Hector Castillo Carvajal | Bronx, NY
An Afro-Latino-owned coffee company in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx, the Don Carvajal Café is planning to turn an old youth detention facility into a green coffee space that serves as a resource to the surrounding community.
Could you describe your project?
For years, Don Carvajal Café has been operating, roasting, and distributing ethically produced specialty coffee from multiple locations across the city, which is hard on our staff and harder on the environment. Our brand-new space offers concrete opportunities to improve our existing initiatives for green energy, community composting and urban agriculture, sustainable/compostable/reusable packaging, and ethical sourcing. Our ultimate goal is to make our new central Hunts Point home greener through installments that will allow us to minimize and repurpose our organic waste, such as expanding our reusable jar-to-go program.
If you had to guess, what will be the biggest challenge with reaching that goal?
Presently, our biggest challenge in executing our vision has been patience with the powers that be. We have thousands of ideas that we want to implement in our new space, but the City of New York has a thousand and one forms and licenses that need to filled out, filed, and approved before we can officially open the doors and make our new home truly our own.
“Growing up in the Dominican Republic, people took pride in participating in a responsible and organic agricultural system… Doing it all the right way—even if it takes a little longer—helps me feel closer to home.”
What inspired you to get involved in this issue?
Growing up in the Dominican Republic, people took pride in participating in a responsible and organic agricultural system. It was jarring when I first left home and came to New York City, where capitalism is king. I want to bridge the gap between where I come from and where I am now with Don Carvajal Café. Putting sustainability at the forefront of everything we do is clearly the most ethical way to do business and build stronger communities, but doing it all the right way—even if it takes a little longer—helps me feel closer to home.