Coffee + Sustainability panel recap

On January 21, I was honored to moderate a panel discussion at San Francisco’s famed Ferry Building about a vexing topic: “Coffee and Sustainability.”Joining me were Chris Bacon, an environmental social scientist at Santa Clara University and co-author of Confronting the Coffee Crisis; Steven Vick, quality control manager at Blue Bottle Coffee Co.,; and Colby Barr, co-owner of Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz and a winner of two Good Food Awards in 2013.

A recap of the panel, including full audio of the conversation and audience questions-and-answers, is live over on the CUESA website now.

I’ll also be writing my own recap for Sprudge (hopefully live sometime next week). Here are just a few nuggets from the CUESA recap, but there’s plenty more to come:

Certification itself isn’t a guarantor of sustainability, but it sets up criteria that move us closer to sustainability. —Chris Bacon

The farmer and consumer are most important [in the supply chain], and they’re the most disconnected geographically and emotionally. […] To have longevity, you need to have a relationship, and to have a relationship, you have to pay farmers well. —Colby Barr

A big part of it for us is to calibrate with the farmers and say, ‘This is what we’re looking for, this is how we roast coffee, and this is what we’re going to pay more money for. It really empowers the farmer to know what their quality is so that they can demand the right price. —Stephen Vick


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