The Team

Álvaro Soberanes

Partner café

Alvaro has been lucky enough to be involved in coffee culture his whole life. He was born and grew up in a town built around the production of coffee in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, and has been committed to learning about coffee ever since. He is also interested in the exchange of agricultural goods between people, specifically trading over social networks and between social contacts, with individuals and small, often family, businesses. He has spent the last 10 years developing his own coffee-centred project, “El Volador”, which focuses on the cultivation, processing, and trading of green coffee, exporting with the Feral Trade project to the UK. “El Volador” espresso-style coffee is also enjoyed by many in Oaxaca City, at Alvaro’s charming coffee shop in the historic city centre.

Alvaro is passionate about experimenting in all of the spaces and projects he contributes to; he is excited about the opportunity to capitalize on a different approach to coffee culture through ¡Trueque!, given the talent and resources in Oaxaca City that can drive innovation in the field. He thinks ¡Trueque! is a fantastic chance to work with very talented people from diverse backgrounds, who can together experiment in coffee and build a foundation to take coffee to a new level of creativity and quality.

Gary McGarvey

Creative Director

Gary McGarvey aka Horse is an illustrator, designer, screen printer and photographer, and one half of Convivio.

Gary is a board member of the American Poster Institute, the organiser of Flatstock at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona and the director and curator of Screenadelica, a gig poster exhibition which travels around the world from festival to festival over the summer months.

Primarily focussng on music based commissions, Horse, has produced album covers or limited edition screen print posters for the likes of Elton John, Queens of the Stone Age, Bjork, Pixies, Kendrick Lamar, Melvins, Chilly Gonzales, The National to name a few.

While in all honesty he’s more of a tea man, he takes his coffee pure: black, without sugar.

Goyo Desgarennes

Goyo Desgarennes Garzón is a person connector and catalyst for art who sees in collaborative processes the light for the future. He also has a deep love of cumbia (latin american sound), and food and coffee (obviously).

As well as being a long-time collaborator with Convivio Oaxaca, Goyo is involved in several other projects regarding contemporary art and pottery, with a strong social sense. He is the founder of Trayectivo art walks and also runs the Deep In Clay tours.

A Oaxaca native, Goyo is a source of all kinds of information and If you make Goyo happy he’ll show you his love for Oaxacan tlayudas.

Jennifer Perkin

Festival Director

Jen is co-founder of Convivio, a creative space in the heart of Oaxaca city that aims to be a nucleus for collaboration and exploration. Before Convivio, Jen combined her passions for journalism, music, food, and travel, in her work as a culture and travel writer. She spent some fantastic years working for magazines in UK, other great years on the road working in the travel industry, and as a freelance writer her work has appeared in Australian magazines Frankie and Smith Journal amongst many others.

Jen has spent time in and feels at home in many places in the world, but credits having spent her formative years in Melbourne, Australia, for her appreciation for great coffee, and the cafe experience. She is extremely excited that the ¡TRUEQUE! project has already begun to bring together people, ideas and countries and can’t wait to see how far it can go!

Jose Luis 

True Roots International

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. A thirty-year veteran of community development in the Global South, José Luis offers expertise in a variety of participatory development methodologies, including needs assessment and problem solving, strategic planning, project management, risk management, and contingency planning. A significant portion of his career in community development has taken place in coffee-farming communities, in supporting community-driven health, economic diversification, microfinance, and education programs. Based on this work with coffee producers at “origin” (where coffee is grown), as well as donors and consumers in the Global North, José Luis offers significant expertise in the coffee value chain as a whole: in coffee production and quality—from seed to cup—as well as certification for organic, fair trade, and specialty coffee markets.

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.

Julie Roberts


Julie arrived in Oaxaca four years ago, based on the recommendation of a Mexico City taxi driver. It was the best recommendation she ever received. She has visited Mexico at least once a year since 2013, and is now spending more time in Oaxaca than Melbourne, her home town.  For many years Julie taught the history and theory of art and design at various Australian and New Zealand universities.  More recently she moved from teaching in the classroom to developing cross-discipline learning and teaching strategies, and integrating a social innovation approach to all disciplines of study at tertiary level. In Oaxaca she is once more a learner – and is finding Oaxaca is an endless source of new, often perplexing, and always intriguing, knowledge.  The İTRUEQUE! project embodies Julie’s life-long commitment to collaboration, sharing and exchange.

Marianna de Liseo

Marianna is originally from Wollongong, NSW, Australia, but her interest in Mexico was sparked while studying in a slightly-less-sunny part of the world. Marianna earned a BA in International Relations and Spanish at the University of Exeter, UK and initially visited Mexico on a British Council-Mexican Ministry of Education exchange program 6 years ago. Since then, Marianna has focused her travels, educational adventures, and community engagement work in this region of southern Mexico. She is so excited to participate in a project that embraces reciprocity to foster understanding and respect, and also celebrates diversity and community in two unique places very close to her heart.


Nicola Coakley

Nicola has been based in Oaxaca for several years where she has been involved in various social impact projects. She received a BA in Economics from Lafayette College, U.S., where her studies focused on economic development and econometrics. In Oaxaca, Nicola worked at a local microfinance non-profit where she established and ran the Impact Assessment program. She now does project work for several ethical import businesses who source from the region and co-manages at Convivio. She is passionate about the power of evaluation to enhance social impact, in both the private and non-profit sectors. Collaborating on the Trueque project provides Nicola with the opportunity to apply this passion to one of her greatest interests (loves): coffee, and she is hugely excited about its potential.

Summer Lewis

True Roots International

Summer is an international development consultant and educator, with a passion for cultivating knowledge and action for social and economic good. She offers more than 15 years of academic and professional experience in social responsibility, the coffee value chain, fair trade, gender equity, and higher education. Summer is the co-founder of True Roots, a consulting firm specializing in the planning, assessment, and impact measurement of social responsibility initiatives in the Global South. She also created and teaches two online courses for Kansas State University: “International Development” at the master’s level; and “Women and Globalization,” an undergraduate course focused on gender equity and women’s contribution at various levels of the coffee value chain.

Summer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Spanish, and Women’s Studies from Kansas State University and a Master in International Studies degree as a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia. Originally from Manhattan, Kansas, United States, Summer has spent more than half her life abroad, having worked, lived, and traveled across 30 countries and 6 continents.