I have been reflecting this week on some of what I considered to be the highlights of last week’s SCAA event. One of them came unexpectedly, during the Coffee Kids reception. Mike Ferguson from Batdorf & Bronson, the pioneering specialty roaster and longtime Coffee Kids supporter, offered some perspectives on the lived realities of coffee farmers that really struck me. Perhaps because I was not expecting them. Perhaps because his refrain — “and the coffee farmers thrived” — represents such a modest objective for an industry invested in sustainability. Or because smallholder farmers so often do not thrive. Or because he talked about this reality as if it were so self-evident to the people in the room. (I had just come from the world premiere of the documentary After the Harvest, which focuses on the issue of seasonal hunger in coffee communities. The reaction to the film suggested to me that “failure to thrive” is not generally recognized as a common reality in the coffeelands.) Whatever the reason, I was just impressed with the commentary. I made a note to myself to track Mike down and tell him so, but didn’t manage to catch up with him during what remained of the show.
Fortunately, neither Mike nor his remarks were lost — the company posted them to its blog, so I can share my reactions and you can read his comments, too. Perhaps you will be as impressed with them as I was when I first heard them.