Tag Archives: sustainability

86. “With coffee, we all win”

I recently heard an agronomist tell a group of farmers in El Salvador: “With coffee, we all win.”  How true.  Shade farming and other sustainable production practices deliver each of the four cardinal environmental services: carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water resource management and scenic beauty.  We have been working for years to help smallholder farmers increase […]

85. Technology for a hot planet

Farmers in El Salvador, which has few remaining natural forests, waning water resources and precious little high-altitude terrain, are acutely aware of the impacts of climate change. That’s why many are making short-term changes to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their farms and adopting water-efficient post-harvesting technology. The coffee sector in El Salvador is also investing in breeding more resistant varieties.

66. Writing the book on coffee and development

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a long afternoon with Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans with no particular agenda other than talking about the coffeelands and drinking some good coffee.  Four hours after he welcomed me into his office, I left with an armful of coffee, some great Dean’s Beans swag, […]

49. More perspectives on Direct Trade

The Fair Trade v. Direct Trade debate — to the extent that people are still having it — is fueled by caricatures of each approach that may reflect some grain of truth but ultimately misrepresent the realities of both.

47. “Getting to yes” (and beyond price and quality)

I read the bestselling book Getting to Yes for a course in negotation I took during graduate school.  I don’t recall the book’s nuances, but some of its core principles have stuck with me, like moving beyond a party’s position to explore its underlying interests, and inventing new fields of engagement in which win-win solutions […]

46. How far can quality take a trading relationship?

For smallholder farmers, getting to the outer bounds of the quality spectrum — and staying there — is hard work. The marginal return on that effort — especially in a high market — may be negligible. So while we continue to promote a holistic approach to quality from the seedling to the mill, we are also continually asking ourselves how far to ride the wave of upward pressure on quality coming from the market end of the chain.