(June 17, 2013) – At Ascension Coffee, located in Dallas, TX, founder Russell Hayward is on a mission; a mission to restore the coffee industry in South Sudan. Inspired by a love of coffee, a desire to give back and a thirst for adventure, Hayward’s journey to “restore the bean” began after hearing rumors of abandoned coffee farms in the war-torn nation of South Sudan. Restore the Bean will launch July 1, 2013. It is a local, farmer-driven program; the role of Hayward, through support from the community, is to provide South Sudanese farmers with access to quality seedlings, training and guidance needed to create a world class self-sustained harvest, and access to export markets for the farmers crops. Every year, for the next five years, Hayward and his team will grow and oversee the planting and development of a minimum of 100 acres of coffee, restoring both the once vibrant industry with the livelihood and pride of the skilled coffee farmers of South Sudan. The public is invited to visit www.restorethebean.com and help fund the development of the world’s newest coffee region.
After 50 years of civil war and tribal fighting, the country’s once thriving and self-sustaining $6 million coffee farming agribusiness, along with its infrastructure, has been decimated. South Sudan has been cut off from the world’s export markets physically and emotionally for 30 years. With no markets, there are no outlets for selling coffee, which prevents the skilled coffee farmers of South Sudan from growing and selling coffee for their livelihoods, like they had done for generations. When Hayward and his team at Ascension saw the need to kick start coffee farming and recreate access to markets in the region, they decided to take action. In order to guarantee a successful first year of production, the project will need to raise $100,000 for equipment, supplies and training.
“This is not about handouts or ‘dead-aid’, it’s simply restoring the business and infrastructure that was there before the wars, and, as a fellow coffee farmer, I just had to do something,” said Hayward.
Planning and planting for the coffee farms will take place in the highly fertile Iwatoka and Kabengere areas of South Sudan. The Iwatoka/Kabengere region of South Sudan has a history of coffee, tea and tobacco agriculture dating back to the early part of the 20th century. The original South Sudan coffee plantations were started in 1932 in Kabengere by two Englishmen Maynard & Davis and then later purchased and developed by the Syrian Haggar family into a single 640 acre plantation by the 1950s. The original Haggar plantation’s output was then further expanded into a series of over 100 small farmer owned plantations during the 1970s, boasting over 1,000 acres of coffee production in 1983. Meanwhile, other plantings in the area culminated into a total 6,000 acres of highly sought after coffee in 1990. After hearing rumors of Arabica growing in South Sudan, Hayward went searching and discovered an array of well- maintained, overgrown and, in some cases, abandoned farms while trekking through the bush using local guides to follow tips. Hayward was then called to action after meeting and forming relationships with the local South Sudanese people, hearing their stories and learning of a once thriving coffee industry, which then inspired him to reignite a self-sustaining economy for the country.
The future of Restore the Bean lies in the hands of the farmers themselves; after receiving training and council, and with the market structure created by Hayward and his team, the South Sudan region should be a full time, albeit small, coffee producer by July 2014. By 2020, he projects well over 1,500 acres of coffee under crop. Ascension Coffee, founded by Hayward, is driving the effort to “Restore the Bean” to the South Sudanese coffee industry. Hayward and his team at Ascension hope to gain further support from coffee-loving individuals, the coffee producers and other caring coffee shops like their own, in order to continue support of the cause. Start donating by visiting the Restore the Bean website: www.restorethebean.com.
ABOUT RESTORE THE BEAN
Restore the Bean is about re-creating the once thriving coffee industry in the world’s newest country, South Sudan. The cause will create an export business for the rest of the world to enjoy, while restoring the livelihood and pride of coffee farming to the deserving families of South Sudan. Restore the Bean is a local, farmer driven program developed by Russell Hayward, founded of Ascension Coffee in Dallas, TX. His mission is to provide South Sudanese farmers with access to quality seedlings, training and guidance needed to run a self-sustained harvest and then to provide access to world markets for the crops. Every year, for the next five years, Hayward and his team will grow and oversee the planting and development of a minimum of 100 acres of coffee farms, providing the South Sudanese coffee industry with a kick start is imperative for its success; visit www.restorethebean.com for more information on Hayward, the project and to donate.
ABOUT ASCENSION COFFEE
Founded by Russell Hayward and located in Dallas, TX, Ascension Coffee is focused on incredible, high-quality, farmer-focused coffee from all over the world. The folks at Ascension spend most of their time sourcing the world’s best coffee, roasting it to perfection and brewing them with love for the customer. Sans pressure or pretense, the crew at Ascension love to talk with guests about flavor notes, brewing methods and farms they support, while happily serving a fine cup. The journey at Ascension is about a love of the bean and the people who care for them. Ascension Coffee has proudly created the Restore the Bean movement in order to restore that same love of the bean and people for those fellow farmers struggling in the South Sudan; with the collective efforts of likeminded people and coffee shops, Ascension aims to aid in restoring the South Sudanese economy one tree at a time. Visit www.restorethebean.com for more information on Hayward, the project and to donate.
Ascension serves wine too; after all, one cannot live on coffee alone. They choose wines from boutique wineries as well as the long-acclaimed vineyards around the globe so every glass served can be enjoyed.
You can find them on the web: www.ascensioncoffee.com
As well as operating the acclaimed Ascension Coffee in Dallas, Russell sits on the board as the operator of the respected Cymbili Coffee Plantation in Rwanda as well as being deeply involved in the Rwandan coffee scene.