Food security in the Coffeelands

In the coffeelands of Central America, seasonal hunger is so common that it has a name: Los Meses Flacos, “the Thin Months.” These occur after the coffee harvest, when coffee farming families — typically paid once per year for their labor — have depleted their coffee earnings. In far too many cases, families don’t have enough to eat and children go to bed hungry.

Six coffee companies — Counter Culture, Farmer Brothers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, S&D Coffee, Starbucks and Sustainable Harvest — along with the Specialty Coffee Association of America have come together to start the Coffeelands Food Security Coalition, an initiative to address seasonal hunger in coffee producing countries.

Mercy Corps is partnering with the Coffeelands Food Security Coalition to fight hunger as well as to host research around a broader collaborative effort that would involve companies, NGOs, local government and coffee producing communities coming together under a model known as “Collective Impact”.

Coffee companies and organizations connected to food security in coffee communities are encouraged to get in touch to learn more and get involved.

For a great overview of the issues and ways that coffee industry leaders and coffee drinkers alike can help farming families, read this Boston Globe op-ed from Brian P. Kelley, CEO of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and William F. Foote, the CEO and founder of Root Capital, a nonprofit agricultural lender based in Cambridge.

Learn more about the battle against seasonal hunger by watching the video below: