Category: Farmworkers

Brazil and the “S-Word”

The Atlantic slave trade left a ruinous legacy everywhere, but in the Americas, perhaps no country was more affected than Brazil.  During a ghastly period of more than 300 years, estimates suggest that somewhere between four and five million slaves were delivered to its shores by slave traders—more than one-third of all Africans dragged to […]

Modern Slavery in the Coffeelands

During the summer of 2013, we learned quite by accident that 15 coffee estates in Brazil were included in the government’s “Dirty List,” an official registry of farms and firms found to be profiting from what the country’s laws define as modern-day slavery. We turned for insight to a long-time CRS partner in São Paulo […]

Join the Conversation on Farmworkers in Coffee

Last summer, researchers at the Danish human rights organization Danwatch published this story about labor rights violations in the coffee sector in Brazil.  The authors argue that the problem “has its roots in the fact that some people believe that it is ok to exploit others to increase their own gain.” We won’t argue that […]

Third-Rail Communications

The Direct Trade-v-Fair Trade debate resurfaced here last week.  I weighed in on that debate here yesterday. Today I want to explore a related idea: that the leading proponents of these two trading models may have communicated themselves into corners from which they can’t easily extricate themselves even though they desperately need to. Direct Trade […]

The List + The Toolkit

I have been writing for this blog on issues related to farm labor consistently since the beginning of last year, and talking with colleagues in the industry about farmworkers in the coffee sector for even longer. During that time, two common responses have been denial (it’s not really a big deal) and resignation (it is […]

Research analysis: Farm labor in the Borderlands

Over the past two days, I published this summary of a peer-reviewed study based on data from our Borderlands project in Colombia and this interview with the study’s lead author. Today, I extract its key insights on farm labor, which include a characterization of farmworkers in the coffeelands as poorer and less educated than certified […]

Beyond business as usual at La Revancha

The tools coffee companies use most commonly to identify and address challenges related to farm labor in their supply chains are certifications and third-party verifications.  There has been generally very little engagement by market actors beyond those approaches.  That’s what makes La Revancha, a coffee estate in Nicaragua, so extraordinary.  Ownership, management and labor at […]

“Field baristas”

United Farm Workers, the iconic farmworker union started by César Chávez during the 1960s, may be most closely associated with California, but it has been working in the coffeelands since 2012. . . Erik Nicholson, a national Vice President at UFW, has been leading the charge.  He has been working tirelessly for farmworker justice for […]

The CRS Coffeelands Advisory Council

Last week, we celebrated International Coffee Day by announcing a $4.5 million commitment to establish the CRS Coffeelands Program, a global effort to pursue our vision for the future of the coffee sector: smallholder coffee growers who are organized, profitable and resilient; coffee farmworkers who are dignified, engaged and empowered; and coffee-growing landscapes that build […]