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Coffee’s MVPs (“Most Vulnerable Players”)

We ended 2015 with nine posts on the issue of modern slavery in the coffeelands—this eight-part series on our research into wretched labor conditions on a small number of Brazilian coffee estates and this reflection on how that work is inspired by our mission to serve the poorest and most vulnerable people.  Those posts were rather narrow in focus—one country, one specific category of labor abuse.  An article we contributed to the current issue of Roast Magazine titled “Farmworkers in Coffee: Improving Conditions for the Industry’s Most Vulnerable Players” is wider in scope—it surveys the broader context of farm labor in coffee that we are working to address through our research, writing and programming.

The article argues that more proactive engagement with farm labor issues in coffee can be good for business, improve compliance, mitigate brand risk and expand the coffee’s promise of social impact.

It draws on insights from lots of folks who are familiar to industry: Allegro’s Director of Sourcing Darrin Daniel, Union Hand-Roasted co-owner Steven Macatonia, SCAA luminaries Kim Elena Ionescu and Peter Giuliano, Fair Trade USA’s Ben Corey-Moran, Rainforest Alliance’s Alex Morgan and Utz Certified’s Miguel Zamora.

It also brings in valuable new perspectives from experts in agricultural supply chains and farm labor: Stephanie Daniels of Sustainable Food Lab, Erik Nicholson of United Farm Workers and Quinn Kepes of Verité.

And it features stunning photographs from the La Revancha estate in Nicaragua shot by Oscar Leiva for CRS.  Below, 10 extraordinary photos of farm work and farmworkers that were not selected by the editors at Roast but deserve to be seen.

With apologies for the lack of formatting for the photos—slideshow function currently offline—and gratitude to Roast Magazine for permission to make the full text of the article available here.

Michael Sheridan


Welcome to La Revancha

Welcome to Finca La Revancha.


workers at daybreak

Daybreak at La Revancha.


picking in the rain




a light moment in the rain




loading the truck


the mill.

early harvest production from La Revancha


women workers at La Providencia



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