BALTIMORE, MD –– Experts from Lutheran World Relief – an NGO working in 35 countries to develop sustainable solutions to poverty and food insecurity through its work with smallholder farmers – will attend the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Annual Exposition (April 9-12, 2015) to: discuss how climate change is affecting coffee growing regions and needed adaptations to sustain quality production and farmers’ livelihoods; share best practices from their work with coffee cooperatives and smallholder farmers across the globe; and, launch a new online platform dedicated to connecting public donors directly to sustainable development projects with coffee farmers. Lutheran World Relief will also share information on their new $350,000 grant from Starbucks Foundation to further sustainable coffee growing in Colombia. Lutheran World Relief experts will be joined by coffee farmers from Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.
For more than 20 years, Lutheran World Relief has been working to improve the lives of coffee farmers across the globe. By forging relationships on the ground with local nongovernmental organizations, farmers´ organizations, community councils and local governments, and with manufacturers around the world, the organization is focused on increasing producers’ quality and quantity while also advancing rural development, increasing food security, and protecting natural resources in the face of a changing climate.
My coffee tastes like climate change – Panel discussion on April 11
Climate change is having – and will continue to have – a dramatic effect on coffee production. During the conference, Rick Peyser, past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, seasoned Keurig Green Mountain executive, and current Senior Relationship Manager for Coffee and Cocoa at Lutheran World Relief, will speak on a panel of experts about this pressing issue as well as innovations helping farmers create a sustainable supply chain and sustainable livelihoods.
“The changing climate creates a lot of uncertainty for coffee and cocoa farmers,” said Peyser. “Our job is to help farmers adapt and figure out how agricultural work can be sustainable and profitable for small-scale farmers for years to come.”
Joining him, Carolyn Barker-Villena, Lutheran World Relief’s regional director for Latin America will share real world examples from working proactively to strengthen local systems and reduce the effect and severity of future shocks through climate smart agriculture.
The Panel “Coffee And Climate Change: Farmers, NGOs’ And Industry Perspectives And Strategies For Mitigation” will take place on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Fellow panelists include: Jerome Perez of Nespresso, Jeffrey Hayward of Rainforest Alliance and Aquiles Espinoza of UCPCO.
Starbucks Foundation Partnership in Colombia
Lutheran World Relief recently received a Starbucks Foundation grant of $350,000 toward its project Pro-Café: Protecting Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Coffee Livelihoods, a two-year project that contributes to the protection of the local ecosystem, provides sustainable livelihoods, and fosters community in the Guarinó River watershed in Caldas, Colombia.
“We believe that satisfying the growing global demand for coffee, and improving the lives of the farmers who grow it, can and should go hand-in-hand,” said Barker-Villena, LWR’s regional director for Latin America. “In order to have a reliable and sustainable supply of coffee for the world, it’s imperative to invest in the farmers who produce it, and we are grateful to Starbucks and the Starbucks Foundation for recognizing that and making such investments.”
This grant is part of Starbucks comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing. To date, Starbucks has contributed $15 million in social projects to support farming communities around the world. In 2014, the Starbucks Foundation granted more than $3.7 million to multiple organizations whose work addresses relevant needs in specific communities. Each investment is targeted to create a sustained impact in a local community developing the necessary infrastructure to help support systemic, long term change.
Direct support for Kenyan coffee farmers
Despite strong global demand for coffee and cocoa, producers often struggle to provide for their families, capturing just a fraction of their crops’ full market value. Recently, Lutheran World Relief launched KindSight, an online platform that allows donors to choose exactly how they would like to help support Lutheran World Relief’s work in 35 countries. At the SCAA event, KindSight will launch a new donor option dedicated to supporting more than 5,500 farmers in the Rachuonyo South District of Kenya that face a multitude of barriers to successful coffee farming.
The “APOKO: Coffee Farmers in Kenya” project connects thousands of farmers with the tools they need to work their way out of poverty by strengthening the cooperatives’ ability to provide important services including:
• Training and support on how to get the most out of their coffee plants;
• Quality processing equipment to increase coffee quality and sales price; and,
• A savings and credit union where members can safely keep their money and access loans.
More information on the program is available at mykindsight.org/projects.
Lutheran World Relief and Empowering Farmers
Lutheran World Relief works on the ground to educate and empower more than 20,000 smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers through hands-on training and technical assistance in 10 countries as part of the organization’s “Ground Up” initiative. These training programs cover the latest growing techniques, climate-smart agricultural practices and crop diversification, and provide tools for a lifetime of success. Additionally, Lutheran World Relief partners with major corporations such as the Hershey Company and works to provide lasting solutions to poverty, injustice and human suffering through strengthening the coffee and cocoa supply chains from crop to cup and bean to bar.
About Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas. For more information, visit lwr.org.