Many of the threats to the sustainable coffee enterprise arise from beyond the coffee chain itself. Some of these threats, like climate change, are new. Others, like hunger in the coffeelands, are not. In all cases, they require a new kind of engagment and new investments at origin to create a truly sustainable trade in coffee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
I have made my pre-conference picks for the highlights of the conference for anyone interested in the intersection between specialty coffee and development: lectures that seem to hold the most promise to illuminate some of the persistent challenges in the coffeelands — and some of the most promising approaches to addressing them. Biggest disappointment: nothing on the agenda about climate change and the threat it poses to specialty coffee.
I must admit that I have had a hard time getting into barista competitions. Living and working in the coffeelands where so many smallholder farmers work so hard in total obscurity to grow the great coffee that fuels — quite literally — the hyper-caffeinated gatherings of the SCAA and the Barista Guild makes it hard for me to accept the swagger of baristas who produce beverages that seem only very remotely to qualify as “coffee.” So you can imagine my delight when Sustainable Harvest had the inspired idea to bring champion baristas to origin during the 2009 edition of Let’s Talk Coffee to live a few days in the life of a coffee farmer.