Charitable Causes, Altruistic Actions
The other day
I had a meeting with Clay Enos, a photographer who has transitioned himself into the coffee world through passion, experience and a knowledge of local agriculture. He has recently set off on an adventure down to Central America to visit the various coffee growing regions and their farms. Just some extra clothing, a Vespa and a camera, Clay embarked on his “road trip” with unknown expectations through unfamiliar territory.
When we sat down to discuss his trip (see his story and photo essay in an upcoming issue), we began discussing the philanthropy prevalent in today’s coffee culture. “Why do you think people are concerned with what’s going on at origin in the coffee industry more so than with other industries,” he asked. My answer was immediate and obvious. “If wine was grown in developing countries, in regions where their economy is dependent solely on grapes, we’d see a lot more vineyard charities popping up.” As elementary as this explanation may sound, I still believe it to be true.
For the most part, tea and coffee are cultivated in economically and/or socially unstable environments. The conditions at origin are, at times, in dire need of contributions, help and awareness. With the aid of certifiers and the like, many farms are improving on their conditions and maintaining these standards to ensure the success of the business and contentment of each individual employee.
However, it is the charities, non-profit organizations and projects that often go unacknowledged or forgotten. Groups like Coffee Kids, the International Women in Coffee Alliance, Grounds for Health, Cafe Femenino and Project First Taste, just to name a few, need the help and involvement of industry members to continue improving on these conditions, help educate and protect the farmers and better the industry as a whole. Whether you have money, time, gifts to donate, etc., it is up to us to support these efforts and continue to improve on the environments in producing countries.
For more information on these and other charitable groups and certifiers please check back in a few weeks for the new and updated Tea & Coffee Trade Journal website at www.teaandcoffee.net
Tea & Coffee - June, 2010
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