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  • CS "fair crack" Coffee.


    After dropping an idea in another thread I received 5 emails in 15 minutes saying "hey, Im keen to try something like that" so here starts the discussion.

    It would be great if one day CS members can sponsor a coffee workers co-op ,school or medical centre in East Timor or PNG via a 0.50c/kg donation or a 5% of order "warm and fuzzy wuzzy CS tax"

    For a long time I have been keen to setup a "sponsor a plantation" type scheme where we can control how much (how little!) is gobbled-up in admin overheads (which is my main bug-bear with the existing systems).

    I know a few brokers and coffee industry people that would be great at sourcing a worthy cause and with any luck could also let us see the tangible goodness that a membership of our size could generate.

    So... post your thoughts and ideas in here and we will work towards a way of making a real difference to someone else’s coffee world without business class airfares, flash CBD offices and glossy pamphlets to self promote and eat the donations.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

    Sounds like a terrific idea. I have a few guilty feelings when I read the labels on the coffeesnobs bags - so many of the coffees come from countries that have been devastated in one way or another. Anything we can do to address the balance has to be a good thing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

      Im all for it.
      Would it be fair (no pun intended) to say that it does not have to be a plantation that we neccessarily buy coffee from?

      Could the sponsorship perhaps take the form of providing monetary and/or practical assistance to enable the growers to be more competitive, or grow a better crop, or build a drying shed etc.?

      How about a CoffeeSnobs farmstay? A number of people actually travel to the country in question and lives and works there for a few weeks? Dont know how feasible that would be.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

        Fantastic idea Andy- Im all for it!

        When you think of the effort required to pick a kilo, let alone process it, I think its the least we could do to say thank you.

        2mcm

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        • #5
          Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

          Sounds like a great idea.

          Out of curiosity, Andy, how many kg of coffee do CSers go through each bean bay?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

            Sounds like something that is well worth pursuing.

            Regards
            Bullitt

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

              This, or something along these lines, is a great idea and is a step towards recognizing our responsibilities as end-of-the-line coffee crop consumers. Perhaps we could start with projects that are discrete (ie finite) but have long term benefits (e.g. physical infrastructure). With defined projects theres always the possibility of getting other agencies on board to match our contribution (dollar for dollar or 2-for-1). Itd be important to find out from the communities involved what their needs and priorities are.

              Alongside this, would it be possible to develop relationships with the coffee-growers directly so that CoffeeSnobs could buy green directly from them and they could get more for their efforts?

              Cheers,

              Rob

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                You know my feelings on this already Andy.

                Having thought a little more - it would be really great to sponsor a particular coffee growing community. This would enable benefits to flow both ways as we could help them financially and in improving the marketability of their product. We could also identify specific development needs they may have, both in terms of the coffee business and their communityand assist by linking them with organisations who can assist with the community development end of things.

                In return we would get a steadily improving crop of coffee and at a price still within the reach of even the most penny-pinching snob.

                With over 2000 snobs it wont take to much effort to make a really significant difference.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                  I think this is a great idea. With the amount of beans now passing through our hands every BeanBay a 50 cent per kilo Warm and Fuzzy surcharge would yield enough for some serious projects to be considered.

                  From my readings of people and organizations who deal with this type of thing for small scale help the most commonly sought after donations are school and health materials such as paper, pencils, athletic supplies, eyeglasses, simple medicines and first aid supplies.

                  Frequently sought after larger social projects include such things as sponsoring a free monthly medical clinic, building a school or other community structure, putting in a well, installing a telephone and/or internet link and hiring a teacher.

                  On the coffee side the broad catagories I can think of right off-hand would be we can help increase production, quality, and profits. This can be done from a small plantation level all the way up to as high as we want to go and are willing/able to finance.

                  Projects can include such things as enlarging a drying area, building, improving, or enlarging a processing facility, increasing the number/quality of trees, or buying direct from the farmer(s).

                  Some of this can be done with education and training while some can be done purely by paying for local labor, while still others will require the purchase of materials/equipment.

                  Cutting out admin overheads I think would mean wed have to cut out the middlemen as theres not going to be much admin overhead at the small plantation level. To cut out the middlemen I think wed either have to organize a group of small plantations into something along the lines of a cooperative to get their volume up or act as middleman/buyer/importer ourselves.

                  Some questions that might help focus what we want to accomplish are:
                  • Do we want to provide general social help or something directly related to coffee?
                  • Do we want to provide short term immediate help or a long term sustainable solution?
                  • How big a project do we want to tackle?



                  Java "Things that make you go hhhmmmm..." phile
                  Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                    Originally posted by mwatt link=1173409950/0#5 date=1173411779
                    Sounds like a great idea.

                    Out of curiosity, Andy, how many kg of coffee do CSers go through each bean bay?
                    As I recall the last Id heard we were up around a tonne.


                    Java "And dats some Pile O Beans!" phile
                    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                      Originally posted by Javaphile link=1173409950/0#9 date=1173421666
                      Warm and Fuzzy
                      Thats "warm and fuzzy wuzzy", emphasis on the "fuzzy wuzzy".

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_wuzzy_angels

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                        Id certainly be up for a bean bay tax to help some coffee farmers somewhere.

                        I am also involved in an organisation that builds homes, schools and clinics for Aids orphans in Uganda. They are looking at starting a coffee plantation (when they find a horticulturalist who is willing to move to Uganda for a while) as a means of self sufficient funding, since almost all of their funding comes from "western" sponsorships at present. Im not suggesting the bean bay tax go towards this, but its an example of where coffee profits, what little there is for farmers, will be used for greater good!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                          Great idea Andy, good to read all the posts.

                          There are similar ideas around in other fields, for example, "bank" ideas which contribute the percentage, whatever it is, to a pot which is available for interest free loans for start up businesses in developing/struggling economies.

                          I know you are questioning the admin side of things but whatever system is decided upon will need some kind of admin. In order to align whatever idea we come up with to a lack of admin would mean a straight donation kind of approach so that there are minimal layers and perhaps a committee like our CS Moderators make a decision each BeanBay about the cause/individual/concern as to the recipient/s. Obviously there needs to be transparency and accountability with the system.

                          As soon as people have to apply, you guessed it, admin!

                          I would like to suggest that for those who want to contribute there be a sliding scale incorporated into BeanBay.

                          By this I mean, CSs can buy their green beans as they do now. Others may choose to contribute a percentage of their purchase, on a scale of 1 to 10 percent with an option to increase if desired. For example, I may want one month to contribute 20% on top of my purchase.

                          This shouldnt be too hard to incorporate into your existing software. (I know, easy for me to say!)

                          Hopefully this all makes sense, in summary:

                          Great idea, optional rather prescribed, sliding scale for CSs to choose, Moderators to choose recipients on a donation basis.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                            I found the site I mentioned.
                            kiva.org

                            You can read about them here: http://www.kiva.org/about
                            or on their MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kivaloans

                            Not much by way of coffee growers; a lot of cafes though.

                            I did find a couple of ladies who have already received the funds they requested.
                            You can read about them here: http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=989
                            and here: http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=988

                            Another lady grows coffee and her twice yearly harvests bring in $80 each time but shes right with that and needed money for a new goat.

                            A lot of the people are women. Plenty of widows too.
                            All the stories read of honourable people, a lot of them struggling to survive on a daily basis.
                            It makes you appreciate more the things you have, not just material things.

                            Anyway, Ive read all the profiles with "coffee" in the search results and currently no one their needs us in regards to supporting a coffee business.


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: CS "fair crack" Coffee.

                              Good the see plenty of interest and ideas coming forward for what was just a back of the head concept for the last dozen months. Yes, currently we average around the tonne each month so at 0.50c a kilo we are talking about a potential $6000 per year (and growing).

                              While $6000 wont change the world it sure could make a big difference to a small coffee community.

                              so many of the coffees come from countries that have been devastated in one way or another
                              For sure. Often our very best and most interesting coffee comes from places that most of us would never want to go to and certainly would never want to work for their wages or political state. We can’t fix it all but I’m sure we are big enough (both in size and compassion) to start by improving a little corner somewhere.

                              …does not have to be a plantation that we necessarily buy coffee from?
                              For sure. If their coffee is already in our market then it is fairly safe to say that they at least have the potential to improve their farming methods and their crop to demand a higher price from the buyers. If we are talking about a small plantations that produce a passionate coffee but cannot get it to market or cannot process it economically then our donations could make a real difference to their lives.

                              CoffeeSnobs farmstay?
                              That would be fun! Options like that might be a way of a small plantation diversifying via tourism. There are plenty of people doing “coffee tours” currently but I doubt much of the money ends-up at the farm, a farm stay would fix that.

                              When you think of the effort required to pick a kilo, let alone process it, I think its the least we could do to say thank you.
                              For sure. Strong marketing from charities always pulls on the heart strings but can often leave a stale taste when you see good money get squandered. I see this as chance for us to “design” a good system that would be hard to debunk.

                              a step towards recognizing our responsibilities as end-of-the-line coffee crop consumers.
                              Nicely put.

                              Itd be important to find out from the communities involved what their needs and priorities are
                              For sure. I expect that a co-op of small farm holders would have a long wishlist and they would be able to set the priorities far better than us.

                              We could also identify specific development needs they may have, both in terms of the coffee business and their community and assist by linking them with organisations who can assist with the community development end of things.
                              For sure. Its not just about CS’rs money, there is a lot that we can offer as a large and varied group that can help the changes.


                              Javaphile’s post plants some good ideas…

                              commonly sought after donations are school and health materials such as paper, pencils, athletic supplies, eyeglasses, simple medicines and first aid supplies.
                              All very worthy and necessary items.

                              Frequently sought after larger social projects include such things as sponsoring a free monthly medical clinic, building a school or other community structure, putting in a well, installing a telephone and/or internet link and hiring a teacher.

                              These look like some good targets too. The idea of a Telephone/Internet Link seems strangely appropriate for CS to sponsor.

                              Do we want to provide general social help or something directly related to coffee?
                              Not sure. The two go hand in hand. Happy and healthy had to flow over into product.

                              Do we want to provide short term immediate help or a long term sustainable solution?
                              Sustainable is always a better target.

                              How big a project do we want to tackle?
                              I think “baby steps” to start with so we can reach the goals… and then reset the goal posts further away.


                              Great idea, optional rather prescribed, sliding scale for CSs to choose, Moderators to choose recipients on a donation basis.
                              Maybe a sliding scale… maybe optional… I sort of like the idea that as a group we could all provide a percentage of spend to go back to an agreed good cause.

                              Moderator committee with member input makes good sense.


                              Its great to see so many passionate and thoughtful posts in such a short time. I’m sure we can do something good here.

                              Comment

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