The Blog

33. Getting to SCAA

33. Getting to SCAA

I made the long trip today from the coffeelands to SCAA, but I was far from the only one. Thousands of people connected in one way or another to the coffee trade — from farmers to financial services providers, brokers to baristas and syrup manufacturers to supply chain consultants — continued to trickle into Anaheim.

32. SCAA preview – A sustainability framework

32. SCAA preview – A sustainability framework

Over the past few days I have highlighted some of the leading causes of food insecurity and preferred strategies for coping with hunger — issues I will present during Saturday’s Hunger in the Coffeelands panel at SCAA. If you read those posts, you know that the issue of food insecurity is complicated. Today I share some reflections on a framework for sustainable development that tries to make sense of it all.

31. “Food Security Solutions”

Sustainable Harvest yesterday announced it is convening Food Security Solutions from 9-12 June in Nicaragua. The event is a four-day farmer-focused training forum designed to provide actionable information to coffee farming families fighting hunger. To its credit, Sustainable Harvest has chosen not to run from an unfamiliar issue, but rather to engage it decisively.

30. SCAA preview – Coping with hunger

Last week I began previewing the presentation I will deliver later this week at SCAA during the Hunger in the Coffeelands panel discussion, and focused on some of the leading food-based causes of hunger. Today I look at some of the strategies that vulnerable farm families use to cope with hunger, and how these can create a dangerous and self-reinforcing cycle of need.

29. SCAA preview – Access to food

Yesterday I reflected on one of the direct causes of hunger — limited availability of food. Today I continue to preview my presentation for the Hunger in the Coffeelands panel at SCAA with a focus on another separate but related issue — access to food. Even when there is plenty of food available in local markets, poor and marginalized people don’t always have access to it.

28. Farmer tour in So. Cal. 12-14 April

28. Farmer tour in So. Cal. 12-14 April

From 12-14 April, my colleagues at CRS West in California will be hosting Rigoberto Contreras Díaz, a smallholder coffee farmer and representative of the Yeni Navan/MICHIZA association in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Rigo will be traveling throughout Southern California for a few days in advance of next week’s SCAA Expo and sharing his perspectives on coffee, Fair […]

27. SCAA preview – Availability of food

27. SCAA preview – Availability of food

The 2010 SCAA event starts in just a few days. I am participating the “Hunger in the Coffeelands” panel, where I will be briefly sharing some of our experiences at CRS with both issues — hunger and coffee. I will preview my presentation here over the coming days, starting with some reflections on our three-part food security framework, which considers the availability, access and utilization of food. Today’s theme: availability.

26. Are markets failing in Guatemala?

26. Are markets failing in Guatemala?

Getting great coffee to market might seem like a simple proposal. Farmers grow the coffee, we drink the coffee, and diverse actors in between perform specialized tasks that add value to the product – tasks for which they are rewarded with a share of what we pay for the coffee. In the case of coffees of extraordinary quality, the rewards to farmers and roasters – and prices for us as consumers – should be a bit higher, creating incentives all along the line for increased investment in improved quality. At least, that is the way it should be. But in Guatemala, that logic seems to be breaking down.

25. The Church in the coffeelands

25. The Church in the coffeelands

On the Liturgical Calendar, we celebrate the joyous Easter resurrection of Jesus. On this blog, I want to take a moment to celebrate the ways that the Gospel values that Jesus preached in his earthly ministry have been taken up by courageous members of the clergy in the coffeelands.

24. “It’s a fabulous business model”

In a recent episode of Mad Money, hyper-caffeinated host Jim Cramer said GMCR stock, which has already risen over the past year from around $30 a share to nearly $100, is positioned to go even higher. “It is a fabulous business model,” Cramer said. I agree. But chances are we are not using the same measuring stick.