This risk reflects a host of factors. First, a volatile coffee market rarely prioritizes farmers. And increasing productivity can diminish biodiversity on farms, leaving farmers more dependent on a single crop and more vulnerable to climate change. In the face of climate change, a global pandemic, crop disease, low coffee prices, and political strife, a more holistic approach is needed. To us, that means investing in the people who grow coffee, rather than just in coffee.
Although I’m a member of coffee’s next generation, I have no direct experience with the challenges faced by young adults in farming communities who are abandoning coffee. Our experiences have been vastly different, as have our lives outside of coffee. Their role in the supply chain is exceedingly undervalued, and the tools and resources they need to make coffee farming sustainable have been largely absent. Learning about these injustices through my work in the coffee industry is in part what led me to find Food 4 Farmers.