by Jessie Price
Before my feet hit the floor each morning, my coffee brews itself, thanks to an auto timer. I’m vertical less than 42 seconds before I smell that toasty scent. That early morning time while I sip dark roast with a splash of whole milk, read the newspaper and snuggle with my dogs is a moment of calm before a daily rush from task to task and activity to activity. I savor those first two cups as long as possible. I am thankful for coffee because it is such an essential, pleasurable part of my morning routine.
I’m a relatively “conscious consumer,” meaning I like to know what goes into my food or drinks and how they impact the world. In fact, as a former editor of EatingWell magazine for 17 years, helping people make better food choices was also a big part of my professional life. That means when I head to the store I often choose organic produce. I buy beef that’s grass fed and eggs from free-range birds. With coffee I’m inclined toward fair trade. After all the fair trade certification indicates that the people growing it are paid more than is typical; a fairer wage.
Or so I thought until I learned a little more from speaking with Marcela Pino, Director and Co-Founder of Food 4 Farmers. It turns out that in many cases even coffee growers selling their beans to fair trade coops are not making enough money to support their families. As a result these growers are food insecure for months of the year. To put it more bluntly, anyone like me who enjoys a cup of coffee, is likely doing it on the backs of people who are hungry day after day for many months of the year.
Fortunately Food 4 Farmers is working on lasting solutions to end this cycle of hunger for coffee growers. These solutions—things like teaching how to keep bees and to cultivate a backyard garden—may seem simplistic but they are actually making coffee growing communities more resilient and more economically sustainable.
Today, in addition to buying coffee from a brand that supports Food 4 Farmers, I am also supporting the organization directly. I am giving financially as well as with my time and energy as a new member of the board of directors. This is how I hope to say thank you to the people who grow this magical bean that I get to indulge in each and every morning.