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SCAA's 2014 Sustainability Award Winner - Congo Coffee Revival: Regenerating Communities by Linking Remote Farmers to Mainstream Markets

For this project, Twin, a UK-based ethical trading organization, set out to engage new producers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and help them access value-added markets for the first time. Twin's first partnership was with Sopacdi, a coffee cooperative in this region, which had 284 members and was in need of support, capacity building and access to international markets. Since 2008 Twin has worked to build production and export capacity for this cooperative, including coffee farm rehabilitation, processing infrastructure, and business and governance capacity. Today, the cooperative has 5,200 members, including 1,450 women, and has constructed the country's first modern coffee washing station in 40 years.

Twin also partnered with the UK supermarket, Sainsbury's, and the roaster Finlays under a Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH), funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Comic Relief in 2009. The collaboration sought to bring together a wealth of industry expertise to support marginalized producers with training and new facilities to improve quality, as well as provide access to mainstream markets and product development. In 2011, Sainsbury's successfully launched a DRC and Malawi blend that included Sopacdi's coffee. For more information on this project, visit www.twin.org.uk.



SCAA's 2013 Sustainability Award Winner - Organic School Garden Project - Pueblo a Pueblo

The goal of the Organic School Garden project is to reduce the instance of hunger and malnutrition among indigenous school-age children, ultimately improving their health and school performance. The objectives are four-fold: to have six well-functioning and producing school gardens; to improve the knowledge of children and teachers in nutrition, organic farming, and food security; to increase access to healthy and nutritious meals; and to strengthen DIGEPSA's (Ministry of Education) school garden program at the district level. Learn more at www.puebloapueblo.org.



SCAA's 2012 Sustainability Award Winner - Thanksgiving Coffee Company

Launched in the fall of 2009 "Responding to Climate Change: Building Community-Based Reliance" is a project of the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative, in Gakenke, Rwanda. The project builds off the Cooperative's efforts towards quality improvement, and community development, and is focused on confronting climate change at the farm level through investments in reforestation, topsoil conservation, and watershed conservation. The project intends to catalyze the development of ecologically-based practices that can resist the current and expected impacts of climate change for the Dukunde Kawa's 1,810 member farmers, thereby insuring the future viability of coffee production in the area.


The project established five seedling nurseries for the production of shade trees and supports farmer-led ecosystem rehabilitation. The nurseries offer seedlings to farmers at a nominal price; the trees are planted on individual farms to provide shade, mulch, nitrogen, as well as protect coffee from severe rain storms and extended dry periods. In addition to this reforestation effort, grass swales designed to control runoff and recharge aquifers and maintain soil moisture are constructed on horizontal contours along the mountainside farms. The project also identifies sensitive headwater ecosystems that may benefit from reforestation and erosion control as well.


The project is led by the cooperative and is implemented through an innovative, demand-driven methodology that leverages local knowledge, resources, and labor to create a "race to the top" towards a set of best practices designed to highlight the most resilient agro-ecological farm systems in the face of climate change. Incentives designed to drive action are built in to the project strategy.



SCAA's 2011 Sustainability Award Winner – Grounds for Health

Grounds for Health is a nonprofit organization based in Waterbury, Vermont. Founded in 1996, Grounds for Health's mission is to provide women's healthcare services in coffee growing communities. The connection to coffee is through the founder of the organization, a Vermont businessman in the coffee industry who learned that cervical cancer was the leading cause of death in women in the communities where he bought coffee. He also learned that the reason for this high rate was limited access to healthcare, especially preventive care and screenings.


Despite being one of the easiest forms of cancer to prevent, screen, and treat, cervical cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women in coffee-growing countries. Women are dying in their prime from a cancer that is preventable. The GFH model is effective, affordable and sustainable. The process starts with an invitation from a co-op, and culminates when GFH leaves a strong and sustainable cervical cancer program in the hands of the community. Women provide the majority of the labor in coffee production, and are the heart of families and communities. Women are also the most vulnerable, and are dying in their prime from preventable diseases. By focusing on women's health care, GFH's programs result in prevention and saved lives that then perpetuate the success of coffee farmers and the coffee industry.


By partnering with coffee companies, medical professionals and local coffee co-operatives, GFH works to create locally managed, sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee producing regions. Currently there are programs in three countries, Mexico, Nicaragua and Tanzania. To date, GFH has provided direct services to over 19,000 women, trained over 270 doctors and nurses to carry on the work, utilized over 150 un- paid volunteers to make our work possible and equipped 15 rural clinics to provide early treatment. These programs emphasize sustainability, creating systems that continue cervical cancer screening and treatment after staff leaves. Sustainability is accomplished by focusing on: community ownership, appropriate technology, replicability, affordability, transferring knowledge and training. Their unique model provides materials, people and skills necessary for communities at origin to continue saving the invaluable lives of women.



SCAA's 2010 Sustainability Award Winner - Coffee Lifeline

Led by Peter Kettler, Coffee Lifeline International is a sustainable initiative that provides coffee farmers with a vital tool – radio – that empowers, as opposed to linking the farmers to charitable revenue streams that often come with limited lifespans. The long-term goal of Coffee Lifeline International is to connect coffee farmers around the world through sustainable, self-powered technology and broadcast of a globally transmitted, weekly "World Café" show that will offer isolated communities the ability to share technical expertise.

"Years ago, sustainability was identified primarily as concern for the environment," said Mr. Kettler. "We now think of sustainability as it addresses a whole range of issues facing not only the farmer, but also his family and the community in which he lives. Coffee Lifeline can address numerous aspects of sustainability including food security, economic stability, health and education, as well as clean water and healthy soil." Worldwide, education and accurate information are key to escaping poverty and achieving economic progress. In sub-Saharan Africa, radio remains the primary means of mass communication. However, the World Bank states that only 1% of the rural population in Rwanda has access to electricity. Most farm families earn less than $300 per year and cannot afford to purchase transistor radio batteries on an ongoing basis. Self-powered Lifeline radios solve the problem by providing access on demand. "

Coffee farmers have told us that the growing techniques and advice they learn from the radio have helped them grow higher-quality coffee beans, which in turn will increase income and enable more farm families to send their children to school," said Michelle Riley, external affairs director of Lifeline Energy. "We are grateful to SCAA for honoring Coffee Lifeline with the 2010 Sustainability Award, and we accept it on behalf of the thousands of coffee farmers in Rwanda who are working to make their coffee the best in the world."


SCAA's 2010 Sustainability Award Winner - Coffee Lifeline

Led by Peter Kettler, Coffee Lifeline International is a sustainable initiative that provides coffee farmers with a vital tool – radio – that empowers, as opposed to linking the farmers to charitable revenue streams that often come with limited lifespans. The long-term goal of Coffee Lifeline International is to connect coffee farmers around the world through sustainable, self-powered technology and broadcast of a globally transmitted, weekly "World Café" show that will offer isolated communities the ability to share technical expertise.

"Years ago, sustainability was identified primarily as concern for the environment," said Mr. Kettler. "We now think of sustainability as it addresses a whole range of issues facing not only the farmer, but also his family and the community in which he lives. Coffee Lifeline can address numerous aspects of sustainability including food security, economic stability, health and education, as well as clean water and healthy soil." Worldwide, education and accurate information are key to escaping poverty and achieving economic progress. In sub-Saharan Africa, radio remains the primary means of mass communication. However, the World Bank states that only 1% of the rural population in Rwanda has access to electricity. Most farm families earn less than $300 per year and cannot afford to purchase transistor radio batteries on an ongoing basis. Self-powered Lifeline radios solve the problem by providing access on demand. "

Coffee farmers have told us that the growing techniques and advice they learn from the radio have helped them grow higher-quality coffee beans, which in turn will increase income and enable more farm families to send their children to school," said Michelle Riley, external affairs director of Lifeline Energy. "We are grateful to SCAA for honoring Coffee Lifeline with the 2010 Sustainability Award, and we accept it on behalf of the thousands of coffee farmers in Rwanda who are working to make their coffee the best in the world."


SCAA's 2009 Sustainability Award Winner - Zeri Foundation

ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives) started a program in Colombia 15 years ago using waste from coffee farms to grow mushrooms. ZERI says that shiitake mushrooms grow three times faster in the waste than normally. Any waste left over from growing the mushrooms is then used as animal feed.

ZERI's project promotes the use of the pulp to grow mushrooms, which provide a protein-rich food for the community and generate income and jobs when marketed to grocery stores. After the mushrooms are harvested, the used pulp substrate can then be fed to goats, chickens, pigs, or other livestock, which in turn provide additional food as well as manure (to enhance compost).

ZERI's waste-to-mushrooms program has already created 10,000 jobs in Colombia and Africa, providing at least two jobs per coffee farm. ZERI hopes to spread the program even further throughout the 25 million coffee farms in the world.

The program was introduced in 2009 in the United States when two students from University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Alex Velez and Nikhil Arora, launch BTTR Ventures. The company takes local coffee ground waste, uses it to grow mushrooms in an Oakland, Calif., warehouse, and donates the remaining waste to City Slicker Farms in Oakland.

The award generated much excitement and press, and one of Zeri's strongest supporters, Chida Govero, went on a crusade to teach orphans and other girls escaping abuse the importance of food security. Since the announcement of the award, Equator Coffees launched "Chido's Blend" and Sustainable Harvest has been conducting workshops that support this program.


SCAA’s 2008 Sustainability Award Winners

Essent Energy Trading and Solidaridad (The Netherlands)
Because of this 2008 Sustainability Award winner, coffee husks are now being used as fuel to generate green electricity---a worldwide first. Essent Energy Trading and the development organization Solidaridad introduced a new form of biomass, where coffee husks replace coal and other fossil fuels to produce green electricity at Essent's power stations. The coffee husk is non-edible, so there are no implications with animal food chains, and it’s a way for coffee farmers to earn supplemental income.

Early calculations show that this innovation could lead to a carbon dioxide reduction of at least 90 percent, when compared to an average Dutch power station. The coffee husks used in this program, which originate from Brazil, could generate enough green electricity at Essent's Amer power station in Geertruidenberg, The Netherlands, to benefit more than 100,000 households for a year.

Alianza para la Sostenibilidad/ Sogimex SA/ Ecom Agroindustrial Corp Ltd. (Honduras)
Also an SCAA Sustainability Award winner this year is Alianza para la Sostenibilidad (APS), which is financed by Sogimex SA, a member of Ecom Agroindustrial Corp Ltd. in Honduras. Sogimex/Ecom created the non-governmental organization APS in order to increase sustainability efforts among specialty coffee producers in Honduras. The project initially started as a program where a few producers focused on the Starbucks Coffee Company-initiated C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices, which evaluates, recognizes and rewards producers of high-quality, sustainably-grown coffee. However, the program developed into a national initiative to: achieve overall sustainability throughout the coffee chain in Honduras, obtain critical certifications, and offer technical assistance to impact producers in the region. Utz Certified, one of the largest coffee certification programs in the world, was used as a platform, enabling producers to comply with strict social, environmental, economic and traceability standards. Today, more than 500 producers are implementing environmental best-practices on their farms, which have inspired similar programs in Uganda, Colombia, Mexico and Kenya.


SCAA’s 2008 Sustainability Award Honorable Mention recipients include:

Selva Negra (Nicaragua)
Sanitation and wastewater management is a worldwide issue. In fact, the United Nations declared 2008 the “International Year of Sanitation.” Representatives at SCAA’s 2008 Sustainability Award Honorable Mention recipient, Selva Negra coffee estate, take this issue seriously. The farm houses better than 400 people during the off season and during the coffee-picking season, this number easily doubles. Such a scenario can create an incredibly daunting environmental and sustainability issue when it comes to sanitation and the use of water. To remedy the situation, Selva Negra created a water system that recycles and saves water and prevents water waste. Their toilet system is ecological and sustainable as the restroom water, along with shower and laundry water, is filtered through rocks and bamboo to eliminate bacteria. The decontaminated water is then routed to an underground pipeline, filtered again, and then used to irrigate a field of citrus trees as well as a sugar cane plantation for the estate’s cattle. The coffee estate’s human waste bio-digesters produce gas for the kitchen.

Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (Brazil)
SCAA 2008 Sustainability Award Honorable Mention recipient Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) is a socially responsible, sustainable, organic farm. The farm’s focus on sustainability helps to provide stable production, while being considerate of the local soil, water and air. Perennial, environmentally-friendly coffee trees grow on the farm, which helps to create viable forests throughout the surrounding area. Cows graze on the farm’s pastures, and the herd’s milk is used at the farm and sold to the local cooperative. Beekeeping has been a tradition on the farm, which boasts a favorable habitat with its abundance of wild flowers and absence of chemical pesticides and herbicides. FAF, also maintains an organic fruit and vegetable garden that provides produce year round. The organic farm sponsors all workers with college aspirations, and all FAF management and operational personnel have a say in farm operations and long-term planning, which supports good governance, development and poverty reduction. In order to spread the word about its philosophy on sustainability, FAF organizes workshops and educational programs in partnership with local communities, universities, schools and other organizations.
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