Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea has donated $10,000 to the Vermont-based nonprofit Food 4 Farmers to help improve food security among farming families at one of its supplying cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico.
The specialty coffee company is underwriting the project, during which the Food 4 Farmers team will help identify root causes of food insecurity at the CESMACH coffee cooperative, identify resources and assets and work toward building a long-term plan for food security there.
“I believe that high quality coffee cannot come at the expense of the quality of life for coffee farmers,” Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea owner Mané Alves said of the investment. “Simply paying a premium for their coffee is not enough. They have endured decades of hunger, lack of education and poverty, in order to bring us our daily cup.”
Food 4 Farmers was created three years ago following a study by the Centro Internacional para la Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) in 2007 for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The group, led by multiple GMCR representatives as well as research, policy and outreach experts, has since led numerous projects in Central and South America, most recently completing a food security diagnostic project with three coffee growing organizations in Colombia.
Food 4 Farmers co-founder and board chair Rick Peyser says that food security is is a more dire issue now than even three years ago when the nonprofit came to life, as decreased yields due to roya outbreaks in many coffee regions further reduce farmers’ means.
“The three to eight months of chronic seasonal food security that have plagued small-scale coffee farming families in Central America for decades are gaining force and significance as coffee rust disease strengthens its hold in the region,” Peyser ways. “With harvests down 20 to 40 percent this year, and expectations of significantly lower yields next year, there will be a severe reduction in farmers’ incomes that will extend and deepen the impact of these thin months, putting families’ food security at great risk.”