I spent the first day of the Food Security Solutions event here in Nicaragua with a few dozen coffee farmers talking about — and searching for — mushrooms. Today was (mostly) talk. We were sent on a scavenger hunt during the lunch recess, tasked with finding big, beautiful or otherwise notable mushrooms. Here are some samples of the incredible finds that people made.
In a few minutes I will leave the swelter of Managua and drive to the cool shade of the coffeelands overlooking Matagalpa for a four-day workshop where dozens of smallholder coffee farmers from across Mexico and Central America will gather to talk about something other than coffee: how to reduce hunger in the coffeelands.
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.
Sustainable Harvest yesterday announced it is convening Food Security Solutions from 9-12 June in Nicaragua. The event is a four-day farmer-focused training forum designed to provide actionable information to coffee farming families fighting hunger. To its credit, Sustainable Harvest has chosen not to run from an unfamiliar issue, but rather to engage it decisively.
I must admit that I have had a hard time getting into barista competitions. Living and working in the coffeelands where so many smallholder farmers work so hard in total obscurity to grow the great coffee that fuels — quite literally — the hyper-caffeinated gatherings of the SCAA and the Barista Guild makes it hard for me to accept the swagger of baristas who produce beverages that seem only very remotely to qualify as “coffee.” So you can imagine my delight when Sustainable Harvest had the inspired idea to bring champion baristas to origin during the 2009 edition of Let’s Talk Coffee to live a few days in the life of a coffee farmer.