Category: Resilience

18. Field notes: Olopa – Chiquimula – Guatemala

Guatemala is home to some of the world’s most celebrated coffee origins – Antigua, Huehuetenango, Atitlán, San Marcos. But there are other lesser-known origins within Guatemala that produce extraordinary coffees. The CAFE project accompanies farmers in some of the traditionally prized Guatemalan origins as well as some of the worthy but lesser-known ones, including some very special farmers in New Oriente who are producing some very special coffees.

15. Two hopes for the future

At a recent meeting of the CAFE Livelihoods project team, one member delivered a presentation on effective nursery management titled “Two hopes for the future.” The title was taken from a conversation with a group of farmers who say that their nurseries and their children represent their two hopes for the future of the community.

10. How sustainable is “sustainable coffee”?

The “sustainable coffees” segment of the specialty market is more crowded than ever with certifications and concepts that advance different — sometimes competing — ideas about what constitutes sustainability when it comes to coffee. I believe that all these approaches generate benefits and move in the right direction. The question I struggle with is how much benefit they need to generate — and for whom — to be truly sustainable?

6. Why does hunger have to be so confusing?

Last week I turned the basic concept of “hunger” into the remote concepts of “availability, access and utilization.” I appreciate why that might seem confusing. But these sub-concepts make it possible to target the specific sources of want with more precision in the design and implementation of anti-hunger initiatives. Here are a few examples of how this is being done in the coffeelands.

5. SCAA program highlights

I have made my pre-conference picks for the highlights of the conference for anyone interested in the intersection between specialty coffee and development: lectures that seem to hold the most promise to illuminate some of the persistent challenges in the coffeelands — and some of the most promising approaches to addressing them. Biggest disappointment: nothing on the agenda about climate change and the threat it poses to specialty coffee.

4. What is food security?

I have been writing a bit over the past few days about food security in coffee communities. When I write about “food security,” what I am really talking about is hunger. People can suffer from hunger when the answer to any of the following three questions is “no”: Is there enough food for people to eat? Can people get the food? Do people make use of the food?