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In a recent survey of small-scale coffee farmers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, over 67% indicated they were unable to maintain their normal diet for 3-8 months of the year. These are “los meses flacos,” or the thin months, when families make ends meet by eating less, eating less expensive foods, or borrowing against their future earnings from coffee. Food insecurity is a well-established, annual “season” in coffee-growing communities, yet the problem is less well-known within the specialty coffee industry.
While incredibly complex, recent work suggests it is not unsolvable. “After the Harvest: The Fight Against Hunger in the Coffeelands” is a short film that brings the day-to-day challenges of the thin months to life in the voices of coffee farmers themselves, and shares the successes of creative projects that have been established to eliminate this annual period of food insecurity. The film will premiere at SCAA’s The Event in April, 2011. It will be shown at the Symposium on April 28, and during a conference lecture on April 29.