The coffee we drink originates from some of the poorest countries in the world. Ethiopia, Burundi, Guatemala, Yemen all face massive struggles with quality of life. Coffee workers tend to be some of the poorest paid workers in these countries, surviving on dollars a day. Due to global coffee prices, many farmers are forced to settle for prices that barely, if at all, cover their costs. Meanwhile workers on larger farms are paid based on quota systems that often require the enlistment of their children in order to meet their targets.
Over the last decade or so, a lot has been done to improve conditions. Fair Trade has improved the lives of many small share farmers involved in cooperatives. Yet, there is still much to be done. Both small farmers, and workers on larger farms continue to be exploited in order to produce coffee that ends up in our cup.
Epic Coffee is making a dent in this situation. We are working directly with farmers to ensure that both they and their workers are earning a decent wage and we are committing 1/3 of our profits to support projects in countries where we source our coffees that lead to greater economic prosperity. By buying our coffee you are using your purchasing power to change the world!
Projects We Support
While we here at Epic Coffee believe we can have a positive impact on the coffee industry we also recognize that the coffee industry itself is part of the problem. The IMF and World Bank's work to turn Vietnam into a major coffee producer has had a catastrophic effect on global coffee prices due to a significant oversupply of C-grade coffee. In the coffee growing regions there is often little employment opportunities outside of coffee, creating a significant oversupply of labor for coffee farms to choose from as well as an overabundance of coffee growers. So, Epic's first project we are supporting is looking to help Guatemala's economy diversify.
Alterna is an organization based in the Highlands of Guatemala developing an ecosystem for social enterprises. Some of the highlights of their work:
- Their first incubated business, Doña Dora, has sold over 500 cookstoves this year, helping families to reduce the health hazards associated with traditional woodfire cooking and reduce the cost of wood consumption. This enterprise has also created a dozen new jobs for local residents. Many of the stoves have been installed in coffee growing regions.
- Biodigestors: Alterna is in the process of incubating a business that will produce and install biodigestors that turn natural waste into usable methane gas and organic fertilizers. This year, they have installed 20 biodigestors.
- Social Business Cultivator: Alterna is working with locally owned and operated businesses that have a social bent. From organic honey to solar power, these businesses are working to make Guatemala a better place by looking at the triple bottom line. Alterna has been able to provide expertise in business development and management as well as creating a network of entrepreneurs to strengthen this nascent social sector.
Alterna is helping to shape entrepreneurship in Guatemala, creating alternatives for making a living as well as promoting sociall beneficial business models. To learn more visit: http://alternaimpact.org
Thank you for joining us!