As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I participated this year for the first time in the SCAA’s annual Symposium. I realized what a coffee geek I am when I felt mildly star-struck by my contact with such luminaries as James Hoffman, Peter Giuliano, Geoff Watts, Aida Batlle, and others similarly positioned in the industry’s stratosphere. […]
SCAA 2011 preview – the view from the coffeelands.
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 […]
Farmers in El Salvador, which has few remaining natural forests, waning water resources and precious little high-altitude terrain, are acutely aware of the impacts of climate change. That’s why many are making short-term changes to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their farms and adopting water-efficient post-harvesting technology. The coffee sector in El Salvador is also investing in breeding more resistant varieties.
Yesterday — day three of Food Security Solutions — we began the day by dividing into groups again to begin another two-day workshop. In the evening, we ended the day by coming together to discuss an issue that affects us all and will shape the food security lanscape for generations to come — climate change. In between, I found time to visit with farmers and staff of CECOCAFEN and spend some time with the very talented photographer Clay Enos.
Reuters recently published an article that warns about the likely impacts of climate change on coffee farming here and explains what our partners at CIAT are trying to do about it.
We have partnering with CIAT (the International Center for Tropical Agriculture) to implement a climate change adaptation project with funding from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Coffee Under Pressure: Climate Change and Adaptation in Mesoamerica (or CUP for short) is helping farmers assess their own vulnerability to climate change and adapt to changing conditions on the ground. We also hope this modest project can show a way forward in the ongoing search for cost-effective, scalable ways to bring actionable climate change research to smallholder farmers.
I met at SCAA with Thanksgiving Coffee President Ben Corey-Moran, who explained that the company will be focusing more moving forward on its “core business model.” As it turns out, his concept of the company’s core business model includes innovative partnerships with NGOs in East Africa to create incentives for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation. It seems the concept of the “core business model” in the coffee industry may be evolving.
Every year, the trade show at the SCAA annual conference includes at least a few vendors selling the latest and greatest technology to filter, purify, ionize or otherwise ensure the quality of the water you put in your coffee. But you rarely hear anything at SCAA about the countless millions of gallons of water that are used to mill your coffee at origin. As it turns out, the best water may be the water that doesn’t go into your coffee.
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.