After more than 10 years of co-directing Food 4 Farmers, our Co-Founder and Development Director Janice is stepping down to take a well-deserved retirement. Though we’re sad to see Janice leave our day-to-day work, we know she’ll still be with us in our mission to support small-scale coffee-farming families. She wrote a letter to all of those who have supported Food 4 Farmers over the years which you can read below, along with words from her colleagues.
I’m retiring this month. It’s been a long process – nearly 3 years since I decided it was time. But I didn’t want to leave before we had a strong team in place to make sure our programs and co-op partners had the support– and the financial resources – to continue this important work over time. Now that it’s happening, it doesn’t seem real.
Food 4 Farmers has given me so much energy, focus, and solidified my commitment to justice and fairness during these past 12 years. I am well aware that Food 4 Farmers provided me with my own livelihood, and with that always in mind, Marcela and I have tried to put our co-op partners first – especially when times got tough. And I have loved every minute. In fact, I’ve never really considered this work. It’s been an honor. I’m grateful to have worked in this space, getting to know so many incredible people in and out of the coffee community. And that’s what Food 4 Farmers represents to me: Community.
I’ll continue to help Food 4 Farmers, because in the NGO world, you never really retire, you just become an unpaid volunteer — forever. And I want to devote more time to help our larger network of friends in the coffee, food, and sustainability world – or to meet up, eat, drink, forage, bake, or garden together.
Before I go, I also wanted to say that farming families are the most important people in the coffee industry. I’ve seen them persist, day after day, year after year, doing the hard work to make sure everyone in their communities is okay, in spite of the systems in place that exclude the vast majority of them from thriving in coffee. They are my heroes.
Thanks for accompanying Marcela and me, and here’s to peace, love, and good food for everyone on the planet.