I was recently selected as a Fellow for the Specialty Coffee Association of America Re:Co Symposium in Seattle, Washington, USA, April 19-20, 2017. According to the official website:
“Re:co (Regarding: coffee) is a unique event designed for high-level discussion, leading innovation and strategy development for those passionate and influential in the world of specialty coffee.[…] It is an essential event for leaders of businesses who believe that collaborative work and discussion can benefit all involved.”
So what does Re:Co have to do with my work, and why is it important to me?
Having worked in coffee and international development for more than 10 years, I understand what it’s like for a small-scale producer trying to make ends meet—and also recognize the needs of the coffee industry and development organizations, in terms of productivity, quality, and impact indicators. Thus, my current work as a consultant with True Roots builds bridges between these worlds: between community needs and dreams, academic research, the coffee industry, and international resources.
At present, my consulting work with True Roots is focused on gender and the coffee value chain: supporting the Coffee Quality Institute’s “Partnership for Gender Equity” project in Mexico, and teaching two online courses, “International Development” and “Women, Globalization, and Coffee” for Kansas State University. I designed the latter course around a case study—following a cup of coffee from seed to mug, and the women and their families that make it possible. These two projects have further deepened my commitment to promoting and educating others about gender equity in the coffee value chain. I see a wealth of possibilities for expanding this area of research and practice in specialty coffee, and Re:Co provides the perfect forum to make these connections.
So this is why it is such an honor for me to contribute at Re:Co as a representative of True Roots. Ultimately, I believe all members of the coffee value chain, from producers to consumers, must be included and involved in order to achieve industry sustainability. I look forward to making strong connections at Re:Co and sharing data and knowledge, proposing solutions together and creating concrete action plans, and providing my skills and expertise as a True Roots consultant in implementing projects to create a more inclusive, resilient, and equitable value chain.
Click here to meet the 2017 SCAA Re:Co Symposium Fellows
By Summer Lewis