Coffee seller fights hunger among its own growers

Value Chains

Coffee seller fights hunger among its own growers

A six-minute documentary financed by a coffee company is taking viewers to Chiapas, Mexico, to see what the company does to help the struggling people who create Americans' morning coffee.

After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands is backed by Green Mountain Coffee and was the result of research conducted in 2007. Every year, the growers and their families experience what is known as los meses flacos, or "the thin months." In this period of 3-8 months during the rainy season, there is not enough food for residents to eat.

Released in 2011 and highlighted this month by New York Times columnist Andrew Revkin, "After the Harvest" aims to create awareness around food insecurity in the region. Michael Dupee, vice president of corporate responsibility at Green Mountain Coffee, explained how his company tried to tackle the problem: “Green Mountain convened nonprofit partners and the communities in its supply chain to understand the factors influencing food security in the region and, with the farmers and their families, develop potential solutions.” Among the ideas: Growing mushrooms, fishing, and preserving food for long-term storage.

Green Mountain is continuing its efforts to better the lives of the the families that are part of its supply chains through grants that improve quality of life. Grants focus on education, scholarships, potable water and drip irrigation, disaster relief, crop lifecycle microfinancing, reducing operational costs through energy conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and agronomy training. The company expects to bring this additional support to 20,000 families by the end of 2012.

RESOURCE: Green Mountain Coffee supply-chain partnerships

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