Comments Off on Coffee’s Farmworker Problem: A Coming Crisis?
Over the past year and a half, I have done some reading about two related and complementary disciplines: horizon-scanning and scenario planning. The first refers to intentional and systematic efforts to gather and analyze information about threats and opportunities that loom; the second to how we use that intelligence to identify likely future scenarios and […]
Comments Off on 371. World Coffee Development
Did I write yesterday in rebooting the blog that I will focus ruthlessly on our work in Colombia and Ecuador? Yes. And does this first post address something not directly related to our work in the field there? Absolutely. Why? Because World Coffee Development might be the single most important thing the coffee sector does—or […]
Comments Off on 360. Coffee rust: It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
With apologies to my doppelganger Michael Stipe for the title of this post, I cannot get this R.E.M. lyric out of my head after huddling in El Salvador for a week with colleagues from Central America to plan a response to the coffee rust epidemic. During the final day of the First International Coffee Rust […]
Comments Off on 359. Coffee rust: Your tax dollars at work
Three years ago during the 2010 SCAA Expo, I gave this presentation on hunger in the coffeelands. At that time, the issue did not have the kind of traction in the industry it does now. Many people in the audience were still struggling to reconcile the extraordinary success of “sustainable coffees” in the marketplace with […]
Comments Off on 358. Diversify, diversify, diversify.
The coffee leaf rust crisis in Central America has gotten people talking about diversification. At the First International Coffee Rust Summit in Guatemala last month, participants advocated passionately (and persuasively) for diversification of coffee genetics and coffee farms. There is a third type of diversification that wasn’t discussed in depth but remains critical to the […]
Comments Off on 357. Help wanted in Central America: Lead the response to coffee rust
At the conclusions of the First International Coffee Rust Summit in Guatemala last month, the noted coffee agronomist Peter Baker confided to me that he did not think the event answered the most important question: “The Beyoncé Question.” I was confused. He elaborated: “It’s a line from one of her songs: ‘Who run this mother?’” […]
Comments Off on 355. What they didn’t say at the Coffee Rust Summit
The program at the First International Coffee Rust Summit that recently concluded in Guatemala was filled with experts who addressed many different aspects of the current coffee rust emergency: the epidemiology of coffee rust, origins of this year’s outbreak, methods for controlling it, the social and economic implications for farmers and their communities, strategies for […]
Comments Off on 354. Coffee rust: What’s below the surface?
During the opening session of last week’s Coffee Rust Summit in Guatemala, the director of Central America’s coffee institute suggested that coffee rust is a symptom of underlying problems in the region’s coffee sector. More specifically, he noted that the coffeelands in Central America are filled with aging plantations that are poorly managed. What he […]
Comments Off on 353. Coffee rust testing the specialty storyline
The story of specialty coffee has been tightly woven around the ideas of sustainability and origin. The coffee rust epidemic in Central America will put those ideas to the test.
Comments Off on 352. Overheard at the Coffee Rust Summit
The first day of the First International Coffee Rust Summit is in the books. My plans to Tweet from the event were foiled by connectivity problems. Will try again on day two. Meantime, here are some of the quotes and notes that stood out for me from the first full day of proceedings.