Tag Archives: CAFE Livelihoods

93. “Without shade, there is no coffee”

I recently had the opportunity to visit with a group of farmers in the sun-baked department of Usulután in eastern El Salvador. These farmers live at the lower bounds of coffeelands, as low as 400-500 meters above sea level. At this elevation, the sun is relentless and punishing and water is scarce. The only hope for sustainable coffee farming is effective shade management. When one middle-aged farmer observed that the leaves fell from the coffee plants that were directly exposed to the sun, an older one in the group shook his head and offered this wisdom: “Shade is the foundation. Without shade, there is no coffee.”

86. “With coffee, we all win”

I recently heard an agronomist tell a group of farmers in El Salvador: “With coffee, we all win.”  How true.  Shade farming and other sustainable production practices deliver each of the four cardinal environmental services: carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water resource management and scenic beauty.  We have been working for years to help smallholder farmers increase […]

71. New beginnings – Guatemala

Last week I suggested that the violence hasn’t stopped in many parts of the coffeelands even though the revolution has. Mostly, navigating that violence that is a pretty awful thing for coffee farmers and their families to have to deal with. In some cases, however, violence and shared struggle have forged powerful bonds between coffee farmers and given new life to farmer organizations. There are few better examples of this than Santa Anita de la Union in Guatemala.