Monday’s photo essay on my holiday coffee-drinking adventures featured only some of the great coffeehouses I visited during my holiday. Here is the complete list with some notes on each.
In the tradition of the back-to-school composition on the theme “What I did this summer,” here are some images from a few of the cafés that kept me plied with extraordinary coffees at each of the many stops on my whirlwind holiday.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (known as CIAT, its acronym in Spanish) collaborated several years ago on research in Mexico and Central America that has helped put the issue of food security on the map in the specialty coffee industry. My colleagues in East Africa will be conducting similar research in Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda in the coming months in connection with Green Mountain-funded food security projects in those countries. As far as I know, this will be the first-ever household-level data on hunger in the coffeelands in East Africa.
Fresh Cup magazine has published a brief news story in its July issue on Food Security Solutions — the four-day workshop convened by Sustainable Harvest in Nicaragua in June. We are grateful to Fresh Cup for recognizing the importance of the first-ever multistakeholder gathering devoted exclusively to the issue of hunger.
The identity of the Maya Vinic cooperative in the Chiapas highlands was forged in a context of brutal violence. When I first visited Maya Vinic, the group’s advisor told me: “Maya Vinic cannot be understood outside the context of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, the Zapatista uprising and the Acteal massacre.”
Last week I suggested that the violence hasn’t stopped in many parts of the coffeelands even though the revolution has. Mostly, navigating that violence that is a pretty awful thing for coffee farmers and their families to have to deal with. In some cases, however, violence and shared struggle have forged powerful bonds between coffee farmers and given new life to farmer organizations. There are few better examples of this than Santa Anita de la Union in Guatemala.
I have recent posts to reflections on massacres in the coffeelands that happened more than a decade ago in the context of armed revolution. These were not idle reflections on the remote past. Many parts of the coffeelands are still — quite literally — in flames.
Less than a week after I visited the site of the Santiago massacre in Guatemala, I found myself in the bed of a pickup truck, rolling out of San Cristobal through some stunning Chiapas landscapes toward the highland town of Chenhaló. We slowed at the entrance to Polhó under the watchful gaze of the Zapatista sentries in their iconic balaclavas, and admired the mural of the Zapatista Guadalupe on the side of the tiny chapel there. We pulled to a stop in the coffee-growing community of Acteal and reflected in reverent silence on the murder of 45 people there just days before Christmas in 1997.
n Santiago Atitlan, I strapped my baby boy to my back and we walked along the main road leading out of town. Along the way, I pulled a few cherries from the coffee trees that rolled down to the road from the foothills of the Atitlan Volcano on the left the road and further down to the lakeshore below on the right. There, in the middle of the coffee fields, 14 men, women and children were murdered for standing up to the Army.