Roasters Guild Supports Food Security and Coffee Kids

By Kristina Morris, Coffee Kids

This past August, Roasters Guild raised awareness of Coffee Kids’ work at origin as well as almost $10,000 to go toward food security projects in coffee-growing communities in Mexico. Christopher Schooley, Immediate Past Chair of the Roasters Guild Executive Council, had this to say about the partnership: “The Roasters Guild was enthusiastic about working closely with Coffee Kids in finding a way that our organizations could collaborate. We began talks earlier this summer about ways in which we could work together, and the Roasters Guild was very interested in making Coffee Kids the benefactor of the annual silent auction held at the Roasters Guild Retreat. One of the main reasons why we thought that this could be a great fit is that we were looking for an organization that we could build a longer term relationship with the beneficiary of the money raised through this auction, in which we would be able to follow up and see where the funds were being helpful, and not just for one specific project but for an ongoing concern that would be a part of a number of different projects. When Coffee Kids spoke with us about their work with food security and food sovereignty in coffee producing areas, we felt that this could be the perfect fit for what we had in mind. We were thrilled to help kick-start the Grow it Forward campaign with Coffee Kids, raising over $9,000 through the auction! We’re  incredibly excited to continue this work with Coffee Kids going forward, to continue Growing it Forward.”

All of Coffee Kids’ foods security projects this year are taking place in Mexico, which may come as a surprise since Mexico is considered one of the more prosperous countries in Latin America. However, food prices are on the rise, subsistence agriculture is in danger of disappearing and families are becoming more and more dependent on outside sources of processed foods. This has led to high levels of malnutrition as well as diabetes, diarrhea, hypertension, and other health conditions that have long-term effects on communities’ health. The numbers are startling: According to census studies by CONEVAL, 47 percent of Chiapas and 38 percent of Oaxaca suffer from inadequate access to food. Veracruz and Oaxaca are among the states that have suffered the highest increases in poverty levels this past year.

Coffee Kids has been making a difference in the area of food security in coffee-growing communities throughout Latin America since 1988. In Chiapas, coffee-farming families are recovering knowledge of traditional food preservation, preparation and production as well as the use of traditional medicines. In Veracruz, project participants are trained to take advantage of high-yield crops and recover lost local crops. Families are establishing communal gardens and learning to use and install wood-saving stoves. Nutritional workshops are going on in local schools to teach children healthy eating habits and reduce the availability of junk food in schools. In Oaxaca, projects are underway that build tanks for rainwater storage and trout farming. Some families are building greenhouses and employing worm-composting techniques to create organic fertilizers as well as undergoing training in agroecological farming practices.

Many families have reported improved access to fruits and vegetables, increased knowledge of ecological farming practices and improved sustainability within their communities. “Thanks to this project,” says Graciela García Reyes from Oaxaca, “I’ve learned to grow my own vegetables, make extra money and get other women to grow the vegetables that they would otherwise just buy in the market.”

“I used to buy tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots and some corn in the market,” explains Uvaldo Martínez Bautista, worm-composting project participant. “Now with the fertilizer I’m producing from the worms, I’m able to grow them. I’m able to produce more corn and other vegetables now.”

We at Coffee Kids have come to realize that in order for other development projects to take place, a community’s primary need must be met—that of food security. If a farmer cannot put enough food on his table to feed his family, he will not be concerned about the quality of his beans. He will be concerned with survival. That is why farmers must be able to feed their families all year round if we want to enjoy a quality cup of coffee far into the future.

Donating to Coffee Kids is investing in the future of coffee. Thank you to all of those who participated in the Roasters Guild Silent Auction. To learn more, please visit the Coffee Kids blog post: CAMPO Grows it Forward Through Food Security