How Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Helped Bring Food Security to their Coffee Growers

This post provides highlights from a session of The CR CommitForum, held last week in New York City. Find a mistake in the text? Write us here to share the correction.

Forum Speakers:
Pat Palmiotto, Director of the Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Session Title:
Fighting Hunger in Coffee Supply Chain Communities

Los Meses Flacos, the thin months, is a phrase heard to often in countries like Nicaragua, which are also prime coffee-growing regions. This was a phrase that researchers and staff from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters heard repeated as they interviewed the farmers that provided the company's coffee beans.

When asked, 67% of the nearly 200 farming families interviewed reported extreme hunger for 2 to 8 months of the year.

Coffee harvests happen once a year - and farm families are only paid at the time of harvest. Often these earnings are depleted just as the rainy season begins. Compounding the challenges, the costs of staple items (like beans and sugar) began to rise in these months as well. As a result, many families go hungry.

The situation is outlined in the short documentary, After the Harvest, narrated by Susan Sarandon. You can preview a trailer of the documentary here, or see the full film at this link.

"We had to ask ourselves, 'What are we going to do with this information?'" said Rick Payser, director of social advocacy and coffee community outreach for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Payser and his team partnered with the Allwin Institute at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Together they sent bilingual graduate students into the coffee growing regions to research new strategies for addressing the hunger concern.

GMCR also partnered with organizations like Heifer International, Save the Children, and Mercy Corps to bring food security initiatives to more than 227,000 individuals within the GMCR coffee growing communities.

Together the organizations are helping farmers diversify their farms so they can provide food to their families year round, and potentially have additional crops to sell at local markets.

Read another summary from CommitForum:
Green from the Ground Up: One World Trade Center Builds with Green Concrete

Leaving a Positive Beer Print Behind

More on Sustainability: Move beyond greening to a place where sustainability drives innovation. Join our Senior Executive Roundtable with business sustainability pioneer Stu Hart, on Friday, Oct. 14th. More information at

No comments:

Post a Comment