Coffee Producers Participate in Climate Change Adaptation Conference

By Todd Caspersen, Director of Purchasing At the end of the line is cup quality; at the beginning are coffee communities. Engaging and understanding these communities is fundamental...

By Todd Caspersen, Director of Purchasing

mexico group

At the end of the line is cup quality; at the beginning are coffee communities.
Engaging and understanding these communities is fundamental to our coffee sourcing program. So, when we were invited to participate in a grassroots conference on coffee and climate change in Chiapas, Mexico, I jumped at the chance. Plus, we get to visit a protected cloud forest that requires special government permission to enter. Pretty cool.I’m now here in Mexico attending the conference with my compadre Joe, Equal Exchange’s equipment guru. The first day of the conference included educational sessions on:
  • Climate change 101
  • Overview of key ecological characteristics of the Biosfera El Triunfo and ecosystem services
  • Probable impacts on regional climate and the production of coffee and subsistence crops
  • Presentation of regional coffee sector plans for climate change adaptation
  • Community planning tools for climate change adaptation; relating community emergency planning with regional emergency authorities
  • Advances in accessing international carbon markets for coffee farmers
  • Plans for a community college focused on a sustainable coffee production curriculum
  • Improving productivity and quality
  • Future of organic coffee production
Mexico womenThe agenda was overly ambitious, but it was great to be with a large group of farmers and wrestle with these different topics.  Each is deep and complex.
The fact that three of our co-operative partners had the vision and means to develop and implement a conference on climate change and its relationship to their surrounding natural environment, and their primary economic activity, clearly demonstrates their own understanding of the reality of climate change. And the power–and benefit–of working together as organized producers.

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