Coffee & Chat with Vern Long, World Coffee Research

By Danielle Woods, Manager, ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) with Inspire Brands, Inc.

In honor of Earth month, we are featuring one of the most prominent organizations in the coffee industry that is using global agricultural R&D to address and mitigate climate change for coffee: World Coffee Research (WCR).

Vern Long is CEO of World Coffee Research, the only industry-driven organization advancing agricultural innovation for coffee, formed to help the industry secure the long-term supply of quality coffee.

Vern, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I started my academic life in plant breeding, with an interest in genetic diversity and how to mobilize that diversity to address challenges. Variety development was always something I was excited about. When I was 16, my family was driving cross-country, and my mom brought a big stack of National Geographic magazines. I began reading a story about genetic diversity and how it can address the world’s biggest challenges, and from that moment I was hooked.

How did you end up in coffee?

I was doing research in Senegal and Zimbabwe, looking at food systems and how we use agricultural systems to deliver on those goals. I wanted to move from direct research to managing partnerships so joined USAID to help launch the Feed the Future Initiative. This was a broad interagency effort where we developed an agricultural research strategy to enable agriculture to drive economic growth and be a lever for reducing poverty. Over 9 years I managed agricultural research collaborations focused on developing new varieties in many crops, trying to better develop collaborative research to enable scientists to accomplish more together rather than going it alone. I realized there was an opportunity in coffee. The countries producing coffee are very competitive with one another, and have insufficient budgets given the challenges they face. I believed I could bring a lot of experience from working on global research collaborations to support coffee. As an avid coffee drinker, when I understood all of the challenges, it seemed even more urgent to get into coffee at a personal level. [HN1] 

What are some of the challenges within the coffee sector today?

Varieties are a technology that farmers rely on, whether they are tomato growers or coffee farmers. The last time the world had a truly global collaborative research program to produce real innovation in coffee varieties was in 1967, when the Timor Hybrid was mobilized to create coffee leaf rust resistant arabica varieties that are now growing all over the world. So many other crops continued making progress over the years, while coffee did not at a global scale. Mobilizing diversity is critical to our ability to survive with the climate challenges ahead of us. Plant populations across the world are crossed to create new genetic combinations —they can do things that their parents cannot. There are real gaps in coffee, and it is important to develop greater interaction among scientists and the plants themselves which we will achieve by supporting a global coffee breeding network.

What are some of WCR’s strategic priorities?

We are launching a global breeding network that is aligned with the importance of our crop. Coffee drives economic opportunity in many producing countries; it is important to millions of people for a variety of reasons. We are developing varieties to support that need, while preserving the quality that consumers and coffee companies want and identifying the characteristics for farmers to enable their success.

Breeding is critical but it also takes decades, and farmers are planting trees today that will be in the ground for the next twenty years. We know that if they plant the wrong tree, there are consequences. At scale, this poses tremendous risk in terms of supply. So, in addition to variety development, we need to provide tools to support farmer decision-making with the varieties we have available today. WCR has created technical tools to help farmers determine the right variety for them, to have access to healthier plants, and to feel sure the seeds are using are genetically pure. Farmers need to know going in what type of tree they are producing so they can manage it successfully.

How do you reach farmers with your technologies and tools?

What we do drives change, but research and development happens upstream of farmers. We partner with national coffee institutes and organizations like Technoserve to make the connection between new varieties, nurseries, and farmers. At WCR, we want to make sure we have a relevant portfolio of technologies to share with farmers through our partnerships.

How can organizations get involved with WCR?

We believe that every company in the coffee sector should invest in agricultural research and development for coffee’s long-term existence, whether that’s via WCR or another mechanism. There is a huge gap in the funding of coffee agriculture research and development. If you look at investment levels for other crops with similar economic value as coffee—there is a profound gap. We need to acknowledge the gap and recognize that if we want to have coffee in the years ahead, we need investment. To put it bluntly: the alternative is that our children will all be drinking synthetic coffee – which is more than simply a shift for consumers, it removes an important source of revenue for farmers and producing countries. When you are a member of WCR, you drive the agenda. Companies that are not participating do not get a seat at the table to weigh in on the varieties of the future.

What is something you want the coffee sector to be aware of?

We need to make sure the industry understands the risks facing the coffee industry but recognize the opportunity as well. If you look at the success of other crops, we can bring those tools and technologies into coffee. If we want to continue sourcing coffee from diverse origins, we need to understand we have a choice in the matter and a collective responsibility to drive investment to support our collective goals. But protecting coffee is bigger than just our industry. Coffee produces revenue for lower income countries and contributes significantly to human welfare.

Now it is Earth Month, what does Earth Day mean to you?

Things are pretty grim around the world and there is a lot going on that can make you feel powerless in the face of large planetary challenges. We need to sequester more carbon in biomass on the planet. We need more trees to help reduce emissions. Those of us involved in tree agriculture—i.e., the entire coffee industry—can play a role. There is a unique opportunity for coffee to do something for the entire global community. We are in the tree business, and trees are a technology that if deployed well and thoughtfully can help us sequester a tremendous amount of carbon. Farmers need more productive coffee trees. Young growing trees absorb a lot of carbon dioxide. Renovating coffee farms at scale has the potential to solve two problems at once. If your organization has a priority to reduce emissions or a commitment to net zero, trees are a very promising place to start and investment in agricultural research and development can deliver.

To learn more about WCR’s efforts visit https://worldcoffeeresearch.org/.


 [HN1]If we need space, could cut this line

The Gender Equity Index: An Innovative Tool to Benefit Coffee’s Hidden Workforce (Guest post from Equal Origins)

By Kimberly Easson, Founder and CEO, Equal Origins (formerly The Partnership for Gender Equity)

Women play a crucial role in producing coffee, contributing anywhere between 40-80% of the labor it takes to get coffee beans from the farm to your final cup. 

However, coffee is generally thought of as a “man’s crop.” In some coffee-producing countries, a man’s identity as a coffee producer is essential to defining their self-worth and position within the community. 

Women’s roles are often undervalued, impacting their ability to gain new skills and seize the same opportunities available to men. Even though the coffee industry invests more than $500 million per year in farmer education and technical support for global producers, much of that investment doesn’t reach or benefit women. 

The Gender Equity Index (GEI) is an exciting new tool to ensure women can access the services they need to be successful. At Equal Origins (formerly The Partnership for Gender Equity), we developed the GEI for companies that provide sustainability education and technical support to farmers and farmer organizations. 

The GEI is a tool for coffee traders like ECOM, EFICO and Caravela; development organizations like Lutheran World Relief and Technoserve; and government agencies like the Colombian Coffee Federation and ANACAFE. The GEI tool helps ensure that these organizations’ programs reach women equally to men and gives them targeted recommendations to improve their efforts.

A Collaboration for Change 

The Gender Equity Index is a 67 question diagnostic tool that focuses on five pillars of gender equity: 

  • Organizational Capacity
  • Strategy and Analysis
  • Reach Women
  • Benefit Women
  • Empower and Transform 

Equal Origins returns a report with a score and targeted recommendations for each user who takes the diagnostic test. From this report, the user can develop an action plan to improve their performance on gender equity, and share their progress with industry partners, investors, and internal stakeholders.  

We developed the GEI with a number of partners and experts. In 2021, ten companies invested $127,000 to help develop the tool: Lavazza, Barrie House Coffee, Allegro, Paulig, ECOM, Caravela, 4C, EFICO, Jot, and Lutheran World Relief (MOCCA). Leaders within each organization also provided their expertise and knowledge to ensure the tool was relevant and addressed their organization’s needs. 

In addition, we invited experts from a wide range of backgrounds to ensure the tool relies on current best practices in gender and development. We also relied heavily on the work done by a research team at Yale University’s Jackson School of Global Affairs. With funding from Women Forward International, we asked them to identify the gaps in existing services. They compiled their findings in a report entitled: “Gender Equitable Service Provision in Coffee and Cocoa: The State of the Industry.”

We’ve tested the tool with a dozen partners so far. So far, our testing group reports increased awareness about how their current programming impacts women and many plan to redesign internal systems with gender equity as a goal. “Going through the GEI diagnostic sparked necessary conversations between two of our field teams about what we need to do to integrate gender equity into all our projects and programs,” says Pam Schreier, Global Sustainability Senior Manager for Cocoa at ECOM. (You can read more about how ECOM and Caravela have benefitted from using the GEI below).  

However, the GEI isn’t just an internal diagnostic tool. Roasters can ask their trade partners to use the tool. From there, they can assess how equitable their sustainability programs are and brainstorm specific efforts to promote gender equity applicable to their position within the industry. 

“From a roaster standpoint, the GEI tool is a great way to engage our business partners and begin the necessary discussions on gender equity,” says Craig James, NCA member and CEO of Barrie House Coffee in Elmsford, New York. “Barrie House has numerous sustainability programs that we’re actively involved in, but how do we start to truly raise our own expectations to maximize our support of these important programs? One approach is embracing the need to establish gender equity as a recurring budget item within our organization’s annual planning cycle.”

Fostering a More Equitable Coffee Future

For several years now, the coffee sector has invested in initiatives to support women’s entrepreneurship and leadership — often through sourcing “women’s coffees” or coffee grown by women.

These are essential efforts that must continue, and now with the GEI, the industry also can reach women working behind the scenes. 

We’re referring to coffee’s hidden workforce or the women working on farms where the titled landowner might be their father or their spouse. Their significant labor often goes unseen. By recognizing that gender equity is a sustainability issue, we can work to embed targeted and specific initiatives to ensure capacity building programs also reach and benefit this vast hidden workforce. 

With the GEI, the industry can begin to understand the issue of gender equity using a shared language. Much like the language of coffee tasting, building a shared understanding can facilitate conversations for action and impact among partners globally. 

“The GEI is an empowerment tool,” says Kimberly Easson, Founder and CEO of Equal Origins. “It’s difficult to know how effective any one action is, and the GEI is a simple tool that gives people the language to assess their gender equity capacity. Not only does the GEI provide essential context, but it also offers companies who want to do more or do better a launching pad to start. It’s a tool that empowers people to take action now to promote gender equity.” 

No coffee is grown without the help of women. It’s time they are offered the same opportunities as men to learn, grow, and prosper.

How can I get involved? 

  • Learn more about Equal Origins and our mission to build a more equitable coffee future here: http://www.equalorigins.org/GEI
  • If your company wants to learn more, adopt the tool, or support our work, we encourage you to contact Equal Origins at kimberly@equalorigins.org. 
  • We encourage roasters to ask their supply chain partners to publicly report their efforts toward building gender equity aligned with the Gender Equity Index. 
  • If you are a coffee lover, we encourage you to learn more about your favorite brands’ efforts to address gender equity.
  • Share these facts about women in coffee and get people talking! We’ve created a few social media graphics you’re free to use (find them at http://www.equalrigins.org/GEI_graphics) — tag @equalorigins in your post! 
  • Even though the coffee industry invests more than $500 million per year in farmer education and technical support for global producers, much of that investment doesn’t reach or benefit women. #GenderEquityIndex
  • The GEI is an innovative tool meant to ensure that women can access the services they need and are recognized equally for the work that they do. #GenderEquityIndex
  • “Coffee can’t grow without women, and it’s time they are offered the same opportunities as men to learn, grow, and prosper.” See how Equal Origins’ new Gender Equity Index is helping to make change possible. #GenderEquityIndex

What Others Are Saying About the GEI: 

“Using the GEI was a great learning experience for our team. It helped us quantify what we know and don’t know about gender equity. The GEI will help us to write a technical assistance program that puts gender equity at the forefront. We have already learned so much through using this tool.” Alejandro Cadena, Caravela Coffee

“Going through the GEI diagnostic process sparked necessary conversations between two of our field teams about what we need to do to integrate gender equity into all our projects and programs. Both field teams work in countries with ongoing projects that focus on women but don’t really expand outward. The GEI helped both teams see what they could do to impact the entire coffee supply chain and address equity on a larger scale. We’re happy to see what happens when we use the tool in other coffee- and cocoa-producing countries.” Pam Schreier, Global Sustainability Senior Manager for Cocoa at ECOM.

NCA Next Gen Interview with The Partnership for Gender Equity

Kimberly Easson

Danielle Wood, NCA Next Genner and Social Impact Manager at Inspire Brands, recently sat down with Kimberly Easson, founder and CEO of The Partnership for Gender Equity, for a discussion on her organization’s mission and the issues facing women in coffee. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


Unfortunately, gender gaps and inequities are prevalent in coffee-growing regions around the world. While men traditionally transport and sell the coffee, women are frequently responsible for the work affecting coffee quality and yields. Despite their crucial role in the coffee growing process, women are often excluded from decision-making and denied access to critical resources necessary for their success.  

That’s where the Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) comes in.

Danielle Wood: What is the Partnership for Gender Equity, and what does it stand for?

Kimberly Easson: PGE believes that gender equity is the foundation for healthy families, communities and a sustainable supply chain. PGE’s mission is to shine the spotlight on the importance of gender equity and work across coffee and cocoa sectors to embed approaches to drive transformative change. Recognizing that farming women and their families are overburdened and underappreciated, PGE wants to make a difference in their lives. Gender Equity is about everyone, not just women and PGE’s unique approach focuses on the entire family structu

DW: How did you come up with the idea for PGE?

KE: I’ve been working in coffee for 30 years. I started by coincidence when I lived in Costa Rica, working with Café Britt and then never wanted to leave. My focus has always been on building stronger relationships along the supply chain – in particular through my work with FairTrade and the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). At CQI, I helped to expand the partnership base and financial resources of the organization. I realized they lacked a strategic approach to gender in their funding proposals – a growing requirement of donors – and this became the foundation for setting up PGE. I wanted CQI’s development work be inclusive of gender equity and recognized the opportunity to foster a greater partnership in the industry to drive change. I spearheaded the initial research in 2015 for the industry to use as a helpful resource to better understand why gender equity was important. Pretty quickly, we realized that the opportunity for PGE was starting to grow beyond the scope of CQI and so we agreed to “spin off” PGE as a separate non-profit organization, which happened officially in April 2019.

DW: Can you speak to some of the challenges associated with gender equity in coffee?

KE: Gender Equity is a complex topic, but thankfully now there is more awareness. It is a significant human rights, social justice and sustainability issue. Companies see the importance but do not know what to do, which makes it difficult for them to take action. There is a lack of data and no real clarity about what women do in the supply chain. Very few countries are collecting sex-disaggregated data about the roles of women in coffee. The embedded culture of coffee farming was set up to be male-dominated and driven, yet we know women do a significant portion of the labor. To support the success of farming families and communities, and the sector as whole to be more resilient, we need to shine light on farming as a family business and value the work of men and women equally.

DW: What is something about women in coffee that you want more people to know?

KE: The coffee supply chain is gender biased. PGE is focusing on producing countries in origin but up and down the supply chain, bias exists. Increased gender equity means families work more as a team. Better communication and working in this different way can improve income and the overall wellbeing of a family. There are also many benefits for men in achieving greater gender equity. For example, there is a lot of pressure on men to bear all financial responsibility for the household. This burden can be reduced when both men and women have the opportunity to earn income, and share decision-making about how to best spend that money to meet family needs.

DW: Can you speak to some of the projects you’ve been working on like the Virtual Learning Journey and the Gender Equity Index?

KE: The Virtual Learning Journey is a way for companies to directly engage with what’s happening in their supply chain. It is a 10-week online series that brings together men and women from different farmer organizations to explore perspectives and better understand gender equity. Their organizations take a diagnostic and receive a report from PGE that serves as a snapshot of their current performance on gender equity. As a result, producer organizations are able to understand the general need for gender equity and create a roadmap of where they’d like to go.

This road map highlights opportunities where industry can invest directly to support their efforts – such as investing in a masculinities training, or improving a gender policy. The resulting conversations about gender equity improve understanding of the issue and strengthen the relationships with buyers. This gives companies a chance to invest in opportunities to advance gender equity. The voice of the roaster is key in driving change,  since farmer organizations will take action on an issue if they know it is important to roasters.

The Gender Equity Index (GEI) is the evolution of the first diagnostic tool created for farmer organizations. The work with farmer organizations is critical, yet we realized that if we want to really have a transformative impact in the global sector, we need to work with different levels of the supply chain. This tool is used to advise extension and advisory service providers – including trading companies, development organizations, and producing country extension agencies – about their performance on gender equity. We provide recommendations and work with these companies to create a gender equity development plan to ensure their services are not gender biased – with the goal that every dollar invested in coffee is invested in a way that is gender equitable, and ultimately reaches, benefits and empowers women.

Industry members recognize that extension services broadly have room for improvement. The GEI supports service providers to improve their services by enabling them to better understand the needs and opportunities of their target beneficiaries / clients – both women and men. With greater clarity about the needs and issues that impact their clients, they can better target services to respond to those needs. As a result the overall benefit and impact of those services improves. This also corresponds to higher return on investment of those services.


To learn more about PGE’s work, visit https://www.genderincoffee.org/.

Next Gen Interview with Bambi Semroc of Conservation International

NCA Next Gen recently had the chance to chat with Bambi Semroc, VP of Sustainable Markets and Strategy at Conservation International. The following Q&A has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Bambi Semroc

Next Gen: How did you first become interested in conservation and sustainability work?  Did your Peace Corps work in Togo help set you on this path?

Bambi: As I was finishing undergrad, I started becoming more and more interested in international development and in working overseas.  One of my professors, however, challenged me, asking what skillset I would bring with me if I went abroad. What can you do that those in your hosting region couldn’t do better?  So, realizing I needed to bolster my skill set, I went back to school to study international development with a concentration on the relationship between gender and successful agroforestry systems. This led perfectly to my Peace Corps assignment in Togo, where I was living in small, rural community located next to a protected area and worked on agroforestry and other community development programs. Returning from Togo, I joined Conservational International (CI), which was just developing its Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, and haven’t looked back since.

Next Gen: You’ve spent most of your career with Conservation International (CI) following your time in the Peace Corps. What about the work and culture at CI keeps you excited and motivated?

Bambi: Well, when I first joined CI, the idea of an environmental NGO working with the private sector was still relatively new. It took some effort to convince the corporations we approached that we were not looking to launch an attack, but rather that we wanted to collaborate with them. It was an exciting time. Overall, CI has a culture of innovation. It allows you to stake a course for yourself, and there always seems to be something new and exciting to work on. 

Next Gen: How has your career at CI evolved and how did you come to lead the Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC)? Have you always had an interest in sustainability within the coffee sector?

Bambi: It’s evolved from an internship while in grad school to now leading the coffee program and forming a new Center for Sustainable Lands and Waters.  And while I have worked on coffee the entire time, I don’t actually drink coffee. Rather than a love of the beverage, my drive comes from a love of the coffee tree.  It’s a crop that can grow under a tree canopy and holds great potential for rural development. So, my role at CI is constantly evolving, and coffee is only a portion of the work I do. Leading the SCC, however, is basically a dream job: managing the coffee program, engaging with major corporate leaders, and working closely with local communities.  Can’t ask for much more than that. 

Next Gen: It seems that leading the SCC you wear many hats. Do you have a favorite part of the job?  A least favorite?

Bambi: Overall, I could name two favorite parts. The first would be getting to meet and speak with producers, visit coffee farms, and see amazing natural areas.  The second would be trying to get industry participants aligned on sustainability efforts and goals. Seeing this alignment happen is extremely fulfilling and rewarding.  And, well, my least favorite part would be… trying to get the industry participants aligned on sustainability efforts and goals. While seeing the alignment happen is fulfilling, it takes a lot of time and I know that, when it comes to our gravest environmental concerns, time is not a luxury we have. So, I worry about not being able to drive collective action and alignment fast enough.

Next Gen: You’ve taken on a very exciting role within sustainability and coffee industry. Is there anything you can point to that helped you achieve this success?

Bambi: In the first place, you have to find your passion, then you have to work hard. My first role at CI was an internship in which I had one task: research how to grow cocoa sustainably in one region of West Africa. I poured my heart and soul into that internship. As a result, my research grew and grew, and I received recognition within CI for this effort. I’ve been working side by side for the last 18 years with that same manager who took over the cocoa program while I was an intern.

Next Gen: The SCC’s mission is to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product. It seems “sustainability” means something different to each actor in the industry – what does “sustainability” mean in the context of the SCC?

Bambi: SCC recognized that there was not alignment regarding what sustainability means throughout the industry, so we set out to try to establish a common framework. The framework is based around four compass points: Improve livelihoods, conserve nature, sustain supply, strengthen market demand. We are now embedding carbon sequestration more formally in the conserve nature point. However, in additional to a common alignment on sustainability, we’ve also developed a common definition for success.  But yes, in the end, the question still comes up: What counts as sustainable coffee?

Next Gen: During your tenure leading the SCC, are you happy with the changes and improvements you’ve seen across the industry? In terms of sustainability, where do you see the industry heading?

Bambi: We have seen a lot of progress but, ultimately, I feel we are never moving fast enough. This is the reason behind forming the SCC:  How do we catalyze more effort? We have major challenges—climate change, deforestation, freshwater degradation, etc.—but we can get there.  Moving forward, we need to see more innovation around sustainability. We need to talk more about living incomes for producers and workers. We need to talk more about capturing CO2. And, in the end, we need to take a very holistic approach and ask what is good for the producers, communities, landscapes, and regions.

Next Gen: What challenges do Covid-19 pose to the work of the SCC and, more broadly, to the sustainability efforts across the coffee industry?

Bambi: Covid-19 brings tremendous challenges to the entire coffee sector. It’s changed where people drink their coffee, which has profound impacts on retailers and roasters in particular. Covid-19 also forces us to recognize the fragility of the coffee industry – from the safety and availability of workers picking the coffee to those milling and roasting the coffee. Then, it also gives us a moment to reflect on why we are so fragile and how we can find a better balance with people and nature. With regards to sustainability in general, Covid-19 only emphasizes how important the work we are pursuing is.

Next Gen: What advice do you have for someone trying to get involved in sustainability within the coffee industry?

Bambi: Again, first you have to find your passion.  If you want to get involved in sustainability, find exactly what it is within the space drives you and gets you excited.  Then, on a very practical level, field experience in invaluable. It gives you empathy and an understanding of the reality on the ground in some of the world’s most vulnerable places.

Next Gen: What changes would you like to see in the coffee industry moving forward? The audience of this interview is comprised of the young coffee professionals that will drive the coffee industry in the future—what message do you have for them?

Bambi: I see so much hope with the younger generations.  These are generations in which the majority actually care about social and environmental issues. So my hope is that this generation sparks a new wave of sustainability in the sector – that harnesses this interest and passion to truly transition the entire sector to a sustainable and resilient future.

Empowering Families Through Coffee, Today and Always

A message from the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and the National Coffee Association

During this time of challenge and significant hardship, sheltering in place has brought us closer to our families and loved ones. Coffee continues to provide comfort, health and perhaps the one routine that continues uninterrupted.  And so it is this week, the week we mark the International Day of Families, that the National Coffee Association (NCA) and IWCA share a message to connect and empower.

THE SHARED CHALLENGE

Every part of the coffee community is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, from furloughed baristas to frontline grocery and delivery workers to the farming communities where coffee is grown. Across the industry, we are all working to adapt to rapidly changing government responses, community health concerns, and many other significant challenges.

Coffee farming supports the livelihoods of an estimated 125 million people around the world and 1.7 million American workers. Behind every one of those people is a family and community. Well before the pandemic, coffee farmers were facing serious challenges ranging from building resilience in the face of a changing climate to struggling to achieve the profitability necessary for sustainable livelihoods.

The pandemic also exacerbates economic challenges and inequality. As the UN recently highlighted:

“…The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic…Compounded economic impacts are felt especially by women and girls who are generally earning less, saving less, and holding insecure jobs or living close to poverty.”  

THE OPPORTUNITY AHEAD

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Americans and consumers around the world have prioritized coffee as a daily staple during these uncertain times. Continuing this strong demand is a key to the economic survival of our favorite stores and brands. What is less well known is that strong demand for coffee is also critical to support coffee farming communities, including members of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), as they also work to weather the pandemic. 

“Coffee holds this world together when all else fails”

— Leslie Nanne, IWCA Guatemala as shared in the IWCA Insights Report

What’s more, drinking coffee provides health benefits. It is associated with reduced risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.  Particularly relevant to current times, a recent review by Dr. Alan Leviton of Harvard Medical School notes that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of depression by up to one-third.

So, as we join the United Nations in marking the International Day of Families, to honor the strength and resilience of all families, from those who work tirelessly to grow the best beans possible to those who count on a daily cup to start their day. Wherever this message finds you, as you pour your next cup, know that you are connected, and empowered, through coffee.

Thank you from the National Coffee Association and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.

ABOUT THE NCA

The National Coffee Association of U.S.A., Inc. (NCA), established in 1911, is the leading trade organization for the coffee industry in the United States. The NCA is the only trade association that serves all segments of the U.S. coffee industry, including traditional and specialty companies. A majority of NCA membership, which accounts for over 90% of U.S. coffee commerce, comprises small and mid-sized companies and includes growers, roasters, retailers, importer/exporters, wholesaler/suppliers, and allied industry businesses. Please visit ncausa.org to learn more.

ABOUT THE IWCA

The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) is a global network of organizations united by the mission to empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives; and to encourage and recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry.We represent more than 25 countries, the majority of which are coffee growing. Together, we achieve empowerment through leadership development, partnership, and amplified market visibility. www.womenincoffee.org.

NCA Member Spotlight: JNP Coffee

Photo: JNP Coffee

COMPANY: JNP Coffee
LOCATION: USA & Burundi
NCA MEMBER SINCE: 2018
TWITTER: @jnpcoffee
FACEBOOK: /JNPCOFFEELLC
INSTAGRAM: @jnpcoffee

Read more NCA member spotlights, or check out our complete list of members

What does JNP Coffee do?

We trade the very best East African specialty coffee from Burundi, while empowering women farmers with technical knowledge and unparalleled bonus/premium payments.

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“Why Gender?”

“Gender in Coffee: A Documentary”

A new documentary offers a profoundly human perspective on gender equity and the coffee industry.

Join the National Coffee Association for a special screening hosted by the Coffee Quality Institute on April 4 in New York City. Learn more


What does gender equity mean for a coffee family, a roaster or a coffee drinker?

How do we relate to and connect with one another around the same passion for coffee?

Gender in Coffee: A Documentary” opens up the conversation about the importance of gender equality for the sustainability of the industry.

Filmmakers Xavier Hamon and Hannah Stapleton followed the story of women and men involved in the production, transformation and consumption of coffee between January and March 2017.

Here, watch a preview of the resulting film:

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How to Empower Coffee Communities to Thrive

Inside the community-driven mission of The Coffee Trust, NCA 2019 Origin Charity of the Year

The National Coffee Association recognized The Coffee Trust as the recipient of the 2019 NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award, sponsored by Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, during the NCA 2019 Annual Convention in Atlanta.

Two Award finalists – meriting special mention – were Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc. and Strategies for International Development.

[Read the NCA News release and visit the NCA Coffee Charity Showcase to learn more.]

Here, Bill Fishbein, The Coffee Trust Founder and Executive Director, explains from the field what makes this organization so special – and how they are happily working themselves our of jobs in communities at origin.

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IWCA in Atlanta: Lessons Learned From Sustainability-Focused Initiatives

iwcaluncheon-nathalie-02

Calling all NCA 2019 Convention attendees!

You’re invited to a lively interactive forum, titled Connect. Empower. Advance. Insights & Lessons Learned From Sustainability-Focused Initiatives.

Join the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and moderator Nathalie Gabbay, Representative of RGC Coffee, for the IWCA Annual Luncheon fundraiser at the NCA 2019 Convention in Atlanta, GA.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get high-level insights into leading sustainability initiatives and connect with colleagues from across the coffee industry.

Panelists and discussion topics include:

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Meet the NCA Next Generation: Amber Gray, Starbucks

amber-gray-next-gen

The following Q&A is from the NCA Next Generation Group, a National Coffee Association initiative to engage and support young professionals and emerging leaders across the coffee industry. 

Join the NCA Next Generation Council for young professionals in the coffee industry at the NCA 2019 Convention in Atlanta on Friday, March 8.


Amber Gray
Mgr Sr Coffee Operations, Starbucks
NCA Next Gen Council Member

How and when did you get involved with the coffee industry?

I got involved in coffee in 2013 when I joined Atlas Coffee Importers in north Seattle.

Having a culinary degree, I was trying to find an opportunity that would allow me to stay connected to the food and beverage industry, but still utilized my analytical background.

I worked in their Logistics department, managing and coordinating orders from green coffee warehouses to various customers across the US.

What interested you in joining the NCA Next Generation group, and then becoming part of the council?

I found out about the Next Gen council opportunity while on an origin trip in Costa Rica. Experiencing the first 10 feet of coffee inspired me to find a way to contribute more to the larger conversation.

I hope to help inspire the next generation, especially women, to get involved in coffee and supply chain.

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