In my last post, I turned the lights out at the CRS Coffeelands Blog with a resolution to do more and write less. As it turns out, doing and writing aren’t as incompatible as I thought. In fact, they can be mutually reinforcing. The writing on this blog that sparked conversation in the past–some online, most offline–helped to shape the way we went about the doing, invariably improving the quality of our work in the field and our engagement in the marketplace.
The truth is, I have enjoyed the “blogging dividend” over the past few months–the time I used to devote to blogging that I could instead dedicate to participating more fully in project activities in the field. I think in some ways the quality of our work has improved as a result. But there were also many times during that stretch when we needed a sounding board beyond our project team and our inner circle of industry allies and advisors. The kind of sounding board the blog provided reliably for years.
So we are rebooting the CRS Coffeelands Blog.
For my part, I will focus more ruthlessly on our work in Colombia and Ecuador, where we are promoting farmer organization and quality-based differentiation to expand participation in the specialty Arabica market and the emerging fine Robusta market, respectively. And where we are also trying to influence the way the coffee trade works, contributing to changes in public policy and private-sector practices to make coffee chains more inclusive, more environmentally sustainable, and more profitable for everyone involved.
For urgent issues in coffee sustainability outside the geography of the Borderlands project, I will try to secure contributions from my colleagues battling coffee leaf rust and working to improve water resource management in the coffeelands of Central America. Conserving forests and seeking markets in Haiti. Promoting specialty coffee amid conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And fighting hunger in coffee communities in East Africa.