About Us

True Roots is a consulting agency dedicated to developing resilient communities, organizations, and individuals. Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in international development, our team specializes in the planning, assessment, monitoring and evaluation of social responsibility initiatives.

  • More than 15 years of experience in international development, social enterprise, and social responsibility initiatives, project planning and management, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Integrative, intercultural perspective with trilingual language skills (English, Spanish and French).
  • Familiarity with business, nonprofit, rural, and academic fields, with an in-depth understanding of the coffee value chain, smallholder producers, and gender.
  • Dynamic communicators and facilitators with a wide range of audiences, from farmers to businessmen to executives.
  • Invited panelists at international events in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, and Latin America.

Our Team:

José Luis Zárate

José Luis Zárate

José Luis is from Oaxaca, Mexico and holds a Bachelor degree in Agricultural Engineering and minor in Agricultural Mechanics, as well as diplomas in agroecology, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Over his thirty-year career, he has developed his expertise in a variety of participatory development methodologies, including needs assessment and problem solving, strategic planning, project management, risk management, and contingency planning.

His ability to communicate in Spanish, English, and French has permitted José Luis to serve as a workshop facilitator, panelist, and conference participant in coffee and development events around the world. José Luis is passionate about photography and documentary filmmaking, both of which serve as mediums that allow him to share with the world the reality of life for rural producers: their challenges, successes, lessons learned, connections, and dreams.

Contact: joseluis@trueroots.com.mx


Summer Lewis

Summer Lewis

Summer is a specialist in international development, social enterprise, and gender, with a passion for cultivating knowledge and action for social and economic good. Originally from Manhattan, Kansas, United States, she has spent more than half of her life traveling and living abroad and connecting people, ideas, and resources at a global level. Over her academic and professional career, Summer has lent her skills to initiatives spanning fair trade, community and smallholder producer development, agriculture, nonviolence, women´s leadership, and gender equity. 

Summer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, Sociology, and Women’s Studies from Kansas State University and a Master of International Studies from the University of Queensland, Australia. In addition to consulting with True Roots, she is an adjunct faculty member of Kansas State University, teaching two online courses, “International Development” and “Women, Globalization, and Coffee.” 

Summer is particularly passionate about coffee–drinking it, as well as making the supply chain more equitable and inclusive. Having worked in coffee and international development for more than 10 years, Summer understands what it is like for a small-scale producer trying to make ends meet—and also recognizes the needs of businesses and development organizations, in terms of productivity, quality, and impact indicators. 

Through her work with True Roots, Summer seeks to build bridges between community needs and dreams, academic research, businesses, and international resources–in order to create more effective social responsibility programs and resilient communities, in coffee and beyond. 

Contact: summer@trueroots.com.mx