By Kristina Morris Heredia, Coffee Kids
For the third year in a row, the Roasters Guild kicked off Coffee Kids’ Grow it Forward campaign to help coffee-farming families grow food, grow income and grow in self-sustainability.
Through their Silent Auction during the 14th annual Roasters Guild Retreat, they raised more than $5400 for coffee-farming families.
In much of Central America, the coffee harvest ends around the end of February. Three months later, most farmers have spent what they earned and must find a way to feed their families for the remainder of the year. Coffee-farming families face three to eight months of hunger every year. These months are referred to as the thin months.
Due to a host of factors, including population growth, climate change and a growing competition for natural resources, many coffee-farming families face widespread insecurity when it comes to meeting one of their most basic needs: food. Although Coffee Kids programs are designed to address a wide variety of issues facing today’s coffee producers, there is perhaps none more important than food security. It is the very foundation upon which any discussion of quality of life is built.
Coffee Kids food security projects plant backyard and community gardens, teach communities to raise pigs for food and income, harvest rainwater to grow food through the dry months, and build drip irrigation systems. These projects help families ensure an adequate supply of fresh, local food, minimizing the impact of rising global food prices and the lack of income during much of the year.
The Roasters Guild’s donation will have a significant impact. A donation of this size can give a community in Peru three breeding pigs, so that each year more families will have access to well-balanced meals and additional income. Or it can provide more than 20 families in Veracruz, Mexico, with rainwater harvesting systems, so that they can grow a vegetable garden year-round. It can build a greenhouse for a community in Oaxaca, Mexico, or provide the training, tools, seeds and drip irrigation systems that 30 women in Honduras need to set up their community gardens.
Fundraisers of this type also bring us together as a coffee community. They help raise awareness of the issue that most affect coffee growers and their families, and how we, as participants in the specialty coffee industry, can work together to bring about measurable change.
“I hope to live to see the day that coffee farming families are able to cover their basic human needs and achieve food security with the premiums they receive for growing specialty coffee,” said Mark Inman, Roasters Guild Chair. “Until that day comes, I am thankful for Coffee Kids and their ‘Grow It Forward’ campaign, which assists coffee farming families achieve food security as well as build drip irrigation systems to help them survive dry months. The Roasters Guild is committed to supporting this program through our annual silent auction and is proud to be a part of this vital project.”
Here at Coffee Kids, we are grateful for the support of the Roasters Guild and for all of you who participated in their Silent Auction, and proud to be a member of this vibrant coffee community.