In a few of my recent posts, I have juxtaposed the amount of investment that is directed to the retail end of the supply chain (for example, $70 million for Blue Bottle, $9 million for a “bulletproof” coffee retail chain, etc.) versus the amount that is directed to the most vulnerable end of the supply […]
A few weeks ago, NPR ran an article on the disappearing smallholder cocoa farmer. A few days ago, Michael brought our attention to a Guardian article on the plight of small farmers globally, and gently reminded us that this isn’t a new story, especially not for specialty coffee. The list of challenges for small farmers […]
The sustainability conversation in specialty coffee has evolved in important ways since I first tuned in more than 10 years ago. I find it to be more robust. More nuanced. More mature. And, well…just more. The list of topics on the industry’s sustainability agenda is longer than it was a decade ago. One topic that […]
I am back in the office today after a long summer holiday in the United States. The best thing about my annual visit to the States–after spending quality time with my family and friends, of course–is the coffee. This summer the coffee was especially good. With this variation on the “what-I-did-this-summer” back-to-school essay, I want […]
Yesterday I participated in an online forum on the future of smallholder Fair Trade hosted by the Fair Trade Resource Nework. My presentation, in synthesis, went something like this: Fair Trade and Fair Trade Certification have catalyzed smallholder farmer organization and empowerment over the past decade through their support for farmer-led cooperatives. But there are […]
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (known as CIAT, its acronym in Spanish) collaborated several years ago on research in Mexico and Central America that has helped put the issue of food security on the map in the specialty coffee industry. My colleagues in East Africa will be conducting similar research in Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda in the coming months in connection with Green Mountain-funded food security projects in those countries. As far as I know, this will be the first-ever household-level data on hunger in the coffeelands in East Africa.
Over the past week and a half, I have been posting on the issue of how coffee companies are investing at origin. Today: what they are investing in, and how that may be changing.