Where can we donate to support coffee farmers?

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drgary
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#1: Post by drgary »

I'm starting this thread to build a current list of worthy organizations that support coffee farmers. These are the folks who make the most difference in providing specialty coffees and who often find themselves unable to sustain a living. This situation has been recognized in the specialty coffee industry and is addressed in the thread linked below. The problem is worldwide, not just in Guatemala:

WAPO article: Guatemalan farmers can't make a living, driving migration

I look forward to your recommendations, because we will use them to decide where to send the proceeds from auctioning off two Flair Signature PRO espresso makers that were donated for this purpose. Added: The point of this thread is to provide a general reference beyond that auction.
Gary
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baldheadracing
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#2: Post by baldheadracing »

Please consider https://food4farmers.org/ "Our mission is to facilitate the implementation of sustainable food security programs in coffee-growing communities."
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann
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happycat

#3: Post by happycat »

You could poll people for criteria and outcomes.

I have a colleague who worked 5 years in Uganda after the UN left. Everyone had their hand out for $ because the UN programs ended up distributing $ and failing to develop local agency in problem solving. They created dependence and a burden for people coming to help later.

From some reading, I know the cooperatives can be a huge problem when they prevent farmers from getting loan money they need to seed their farms. Also farmers can get paid the same amount regardless of quality, discouraging investment.

Where will $600 make the most impact? A couple of farms? A processing station? A micro loan program? Is there possibility for matching $$ from top roasters?

Can we invite people from organizations to come here and explain their mission?
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Chert
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#4: Post by Chert »

I have been supporting Friends of San Lucas (Toliman, Guatemala) over the years by buying their coffee green at farmer sustainable prices. Over decades they have made a difference in that community through support of schools, homes, medical care and land purchases.
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drgary
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#5: Post by drgary »

happycat wrote:You could poll people for criteria and outcomes.

I have a colleague who worked 5 years in Uganda after the UN left. Everyone had their hand out for $ because the UN programs ended up distributing $ and failing to develop local agency in problem solving. They created dependence and a burden for people coming to help later.

From some reading, I know the cooperatives can be a huge problem when they prevent farmers from getting loan money they need to seed their farms. Also farmers can get paid the same amount regardless of quality, discouraging investment.

Where will $600 make the most impact? A couple of farms? A processing station? A micro loan program? Is there possibility for matching $$ from top roasters?

Can we invite people from organizations to come here and explain their mission?
David,

These are all good questions. For this thread I'm trying to keep it simple, partly because of limitations on my time for anything more ambitious. Your response prompted me to add that the purpose of this thread isn't just to determine donations for the Flair Signature PRO auction but to provide a reference on its own.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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homeburrero
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#6: Post by homeburrero »

How about Coffee Kids, or their new (as of 2015) parent organization: https://www.hrnstiftung.org/
Pat
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luca
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#7: Post by luca »

Hi Guys,

The coffee industry is massive and complicated, but here are two programs that have very specific goals that benefit both the producer's bottom line and the in-cup quality that we get as consumers, and both in a long-term, sustainable way:

Alliance for Coffee Excellence (link to donate)

ACE is most famous for running the Cup of Excellence competition, which has just entered its 20th year. The COE competition allows small producers to enter high quality lots to be judged first by a national jury and then by an international jury, through blind cuppings. The coffees that pass the quality benchmark make it to auction. The most famous is, of course, the Cup of Excellence auction, but what is less well known is that the coffees that pass the national threshhold but fail to COE hurdle are also auctioned off as national winners. The auctions enable the farmers to achieve very high prices for their coffees based on quality, but of course the lots that are entered might only be a small fraction of the farmer's production. The more important things are probably that (a) the competitions enable quality focussed producers to connect with buyers willing to form a relationship with them and pay a quality premium on an ongoing basis (both through the auction and also through meeting the national jurors, who are usually coffee buyers) and (b) the prizes give the producers the pride and dignity of being recognised for being great at what they do. I helped ACE out with their Australian trade mark many years ago and they invited me to be an observer juror at COE El Salvador; it was one of the greatest coffee experiences I have ever had. Not only were the coffees incredibly sweet, aromatic and fresh, but it was a pretty moving event. I remember when we all gathered for the awards announcement, jury and producers alike, we moved from smiles to tears of joy as the winners were announced.

ACE has now been running for 20+ years and continues to improve coffee quality. I'm not sure if they can really be credited with inventing or pioneering vac packing, but their use of vac packing for auction lots has certainly helped to spread the use of better packaging than jute bags (eg. vac pack, penta, grainpro), which benefits all of us. They have also been involved on other quality focussed initiatives, like trying to find a solution for potato defect in Rwanda. You can imagine that running the program takes a lot of effort and this year they are launching in Ethiopia. I'm sure that they will be able to put funding to good use.

World Coffee Research (link to donate)

World coffee research are a body that is basically focussed on breeding and creating new coffee varieties. We might not think about it too much, but coffee is a plant and coffee farmers have all of the pressures that every farmer has. Their finances will be most stressed when planting and at that point in time, they have to decide what varieties they are planting. So what do they plant? The stuff that tastes best? The stuff that is the most resilient? The stuff with the highest yield? WCR is trying to maximise all of it. This is particularly important, with farms throughout central and south america being devastated by coffee leaf rust ("la roya") and coffee borer beetle ("broca") and everyone suffering from global warming. Frankly, as retail and wholesale consumers, I think we force producing countries to bear the agricultural risks and they are the ones who have the least money to pay to address them in a long-term, sustainable way, so I think that if we don't pony up for this now, we totally deserve to be drinking coffee that tastes worse in 20 years' time.

Cheers,
Luca
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drgary
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#8: Post by drgary »

Thank you everyone for your suggestions so far.
homeburrero wrote:How about Coffee Kids, or their new (as of 2015) parent organization: https://www.hrnstiftung.org/
The parent organization, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, collaborates with International Coffee Partners, CoffeeKids, and coffee&climate. This is a very interesting organization.
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

Marcelnl
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#9: Post by Marcelnl »

I want to help coffee farmers (or for that matter ANY farmer or worker who barely gets a living out of his product), yet also would like to refrain from donating....in the spirit of 'cure the disease, not keep the sick barely alive'.

Trying to always buy my greens direct trade is one attempt I make, yet somehow I dread to know what the farmer ultimately gets paid for a kilo ( as with many foodproducts that usually is ridiculously little when compared to the street price)...yet, short of starting to buy greens in truckloads myself, and having to sell them against a less scrupulous competitors OR drinking LOADS more coffee...how does one ensure that farmer of the greens I buy is benefitting financially in a sensible way?
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