September 1, 2013 – Burlington, VT – Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea has donated $10,000 to Food 4 Farmers to underwrite an innovative new project designed to strengthen food security at the CESMACH coffee co-operative in Chiapas, Mexico. Food 4 Farmers will work with co-op staff and members to identify root causes of food insecurity, identify resources and assets, and build a strategic plan to implement long-term strategies to address hunger.
Mané Alves of Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea says that his desire to build strong relationships with the farmers who supply coffee spurred him to make this investment. “I believe that high quality coffee cannot come at the expense of the quality of life for coffee farmers. 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 of coffee that we all rely on.”
Rick Peyser, Board Chair and Co-founder of Food 4 Farmers, noted how ongoing food security issues have recently worsened. “The 3 to 8 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. With harvests down 20 to 40% 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,” said Peyser. “Mané and Vermont Artisan Coffee are taking a leadership role by helping the families of CESMACH develop improved household resiliency and food security that will enable them to improve their quality of life and better withstand shocks like coffee rust disease,” added Peyser.
Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea provides artisan roasted coffees and exotic teas to retail and food service markets throughout Vermont and the North East The company is owned and operated by Mané Alves, a native of Lisbon, Portugal, who has worked in the specialty coffee industry for the past 18 years. Alves travels extensively to coffee producing countries in Central America, South America and Asia, where he speaks to industry members and teaches seminars on coffee production and quality standards. Because of his extensive travels to source, Alves has nurtured direct relationships with the coffee farms and families who cultivate the products found on the shelves throughout the U.S. He collaborates with farmers and co-ops directly in a mutually beneficial way to create great tasting coffees that are fully traceable and sustainable by current social, economic and environmental indicators.
Alves has chosen to work with Food 4 Farmers, a Vermont-based nonprofit that partners with coffee farming families, co-operatives, and community-based organizations to identify challenges, resources, and strategies to build long-term solutions to hunger. Food 4 Farmers works primarily with coffee-growing organizations, to coach and connect them with the expertise they need to implement strategies, and tools to monitor their progress over time. By empowering communities to identify locally appropriate solutions and strategies – and connecting them with the resources to implement those strategies — coffee co-ops and community-based organizations develop the ability to take concrete, community-wide action to fight hunger.
For more information, contact:
Co-Director, Food 4 Farmers