Let's talk about it...
Each year, October 1 is International Coffee Day. The International Coffee Organization is observing this year by trying to bring attention to the coffee pricing crisis. While coffee is as popular around the world as it has ever been, the coffee market (a pretty complicated set of financial structures) is at a low, putting a ton of financial pressure on coffee farmers, who were already facing a ton of financial pressure from climate change, coffee diseases, and really just the general nature of the colonialist-established coffee industry as a whole.
The ICO has posted a change.org pledge to support a living wage for farmers worldwide that is gaining more signatures by the second, and their International Coffee Day site has a ton of great information about all of the costs that go into producing coffee. If you start there and want to learn more, we’ve put together some other great places to go to understand where we are as an industry and how we can move forward:
A lot of wonderful dialogue about the current situation has been happening on instagram. Umeko Motoyoshi and Dean Kallivrousis have both been putting in an amazing amount of work creating ‘gram highlights full of illuminating conversations on many topics having to do with the coffee market. There's tons to learn from clicking through what’s already there and so much more to gain from following them in the future.
The Discomfort Zone Podcast
Ever Meister of Cafe Imports and Chad Trewick of Reciprocafé recently teamed up for a four-part series called A Little Podcast About Coffee Price Transparency, where they tackle the price crisis through the lens of “transparency,” which has become a popular word in coffee talk over the past decade, but hasn’t always translated to talk about pricing. The final episode, which deals with where the consumer fits into all of this, is an especially unique angle.
The Partnership for Gender Equity
Founded by the Coffee Quality Institute, the Partnership for Gender Equity is a project that strongly promotes the idea that Gender Equity throughout the coffee supply chain is not just a moral imperative, but also demonstrably beneficial for the strength and sustainability of that supply chain. Their website has plenty of examples of their ongoing and completed work and methodology.
Food 4 Farmers
Food 4 Farmers is an organization specifically fighting against food insecurity for coffee farmers. Their site has several interesting examples of projects they’ve worked on in coffee growing communities, from a beekeeping initiative on coffee farms in Mexico to an initiative in Nicaragua that helped women in coffee growing communities grow organic food to sell at farmers markets.
These recommendations are just the beginning of what the wide internet has to offer in terms of the current crisis, but they’re a great place to start. They’ll not only teach you about how we got to where we are, but offer compelling examples of ways people are trying to solve these problems in the name of coffee sustainability.