Maria stared at me over the rickety table of an open-air restaurant in the Andean mountains of the Colombian coffee axis. Feeling lightheaded, I politely declined another offer of coffee. On this, my second research trip to Risaralda, I rued the irony of studying a beverage I can’t drink—caffeine compounds my altitude sickness.
Maria and I had been chatting about her experience as a coffee farmer coping with both a changing climate and a civil conflict that had left this region largely cut off from the wider world until about a decade ago. Maria has been farming coffee for more than 50 years, since she left elementary school in second grade. Like many of the farmers in this region, she has a vast repository of knowledge garnered from her coffee-farming grandparents, parents, and neighbors, and her experience with her land.