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Blue Harvest and Coffeelands

Last week, we announced CRS’ new global coffee program, Coffeelands. In that post, we said that Coffeelands will build the CRS Blue Harvest approach into future programs in the coffeelands. Today, we want to provide you a glimpse of what this means.

Background on Blue Harvest

Blue Harvest has been highlighted several times in this blog, starting with this interview. The approached emerged from our experience in water-source protection that began in 2009. As we worked with communities and local governments on watershed management, the more we realized how coffee production and processing affect people’s drinking water supplies. Our team eventually concluded that good coffee management is good water resource management. In 2012, we produced two short videos describing our work on the ground: Blue Harvest and Downstream.

At SCAA Symposium this year, we described the link between specialty coffee and community water supply at origin, by saying that “We All Drink Downstream”, in this video and this post. The premise is this:

  • Locally, communities in coffee growing areas depend on the water flows from coffee-based watersheds for their drinking water supply.
  • Globally, coffee consumers around the world are drinking coffee from beans that flows from these watersheds.
  • So the entire coffee community (growers, coops, traders, roasters, retailers and drinkers) is connected through the water and the coffee we drink.

Coffeelands and Blue Harvest

Our vision is for Blue Harvest to take root in many communities, watersheds, and regions around the world. As we expand, our goal is to find partners that will commit to places – watersheds and rivers – that are critical for water supply.

A model is the  Blue Harvest program in Central America, which is supported by Keurig Green Mountain, CRS resources, local and national governments and other actors. This program restores and protects water resources in 7 coffee-growing mountain ranges in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for 150,000 peopleIn early 2016, the program will expand with additional funding partners to add a component on marketing coffee grown in critical watersheds. (Stay-tuned for the official launch later this year).

The launch of the global Coffeelands program now gives us a platform to promote the principles and approaches of Blue Harvest to new watersheds, countries, and regions. As we develop new programs, we will be looking for new partners, on the ground at Origin, and across the coffee value chain. We are looking for growers, buyers, roasters, retailers, and coffee drinkers who value water, and want to commit to protecting and restoring water resources.

We want to help build relationships between people and the watersheds that provide quality water for people at origin, and excellent coffee for people everywhere. We invite you to contact us to be a part of this.

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