Join us for another weekend of cycling through beautiful Southwest Georgia!
This year we will return to Koinonia Farm and spend an evening at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga.
This is a NOT TO BE MISSED event for food-lovers, organics enthusiasts and people who like exploring the world on bikes.
Check our Facebook page this summer for ticket information.
See pics from last year to convince you that you want to attend this year’s ride
FARM DOCUMENTARY SCREENING AND COMMUNITY GARDEN LAUNCH IN AMERICUS, APRIL 30
AMERICUS, Ga.- Café Campesino joins a series of locations around the world screening the critically acclaimed documentary, “GROW!” that showcases the work and enthusiasm of 20 young farmers across Georgia who are energizing the local food movement. Film-makers Owen Masterson and Christine Anthony will be on-site for the Tuesday, April 30th screening in Americus that will take place in Café Campesino’s newly established community garden- the first of its kind in Sumter County.
The public is encouraged to attend this free event and bring a picnic, blankets and a general curiosity about community gardens, organics and Georgia’s local food movement. Garden gates open at 6:30 p.m. Mingling and information-sharing begins at 7 p.m. and an outdoor screening of “GROW!” will begin at sunset, about 8:15 p.m.
A 60 minute documentary, “GROW!” shares the stories of young people across Georgia who have chosen the unlikely but energizing career paths of becoming small-scale farmers. “GROW!” highlights young farmers living in Atlanta, Blairsville, Chattahoochee Hill Country, Mansfield, Ranger, Savannah, Winterville, Pine Mountain and other locations across the state. Released in 2011, “GROW!” has received worldwide critical acclaim including 2011 Best American Documentary at the Rome International Film Festival, 2011 Official Selection at the Savannah Film Festival, 2012 Best Feature at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, 2012 Official Selection at the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival of New Zealand and the 2013 Earth Award of the Cinema Verde Film Festival.
The film screening will be the first held in Café Campesino’s newly established Community Garden that offers 14 raised-bed plots to individuals in Americus who either do not have access to land or sunlight to grow their own food. Though still in its nascent stages, the Café Campesino Community Garden is meant to be a gathering spot for gardeners of all skill-levels and backgrounds who are eager to learn more about organic farming and local food. During Tuesday’s 7-8 p.m. information-sharing hour, local experts on composting, beekeeping, organic gardening, chickens and heritage-breed livestock will be in attendance to answer questions, promote discussion and share their knowledge with the general public.
Join us at 725 Spring Street in Americus, Georgia, on Tuesday, April 30, or call with questions in advance: 229-924-2468. Watch the trailer or learn about “GROW!” at growmovie.net
CONTACT: Nema Etheridge
Roya- or coffee “rust”- is an orange fungus that grows on the leaves of coffee plants, causing them to whither and fall off. It reduces coffee production and eventually causes plants to die, and it is quickly spreading through Central America. We witnessed the effects of roya during our trip to Guatemala in January, and shortly after our return, the Guatemalan government issued a national coffee emergency, anticipating some 70 percent of its 2013 coffee harvest to be affected by the fungus. Bill, who on the trip visited the same small-scale farm of Chel-based Pedro Pacheco Bop that he visited in 2011, saw a drastic change. “I was shocked. It was not the lush green coffee forest that we saw 2 years ago. His farm was noticeably different.” Roya has affected other coffee growing regions in the past, most notably devastating coffee crops of the British Ceylon (or modern-day Sri Lanka) in the 1800s, and later affecting coffee crops in Indonesia and Brazil and some areas of Central America and the Caribbean as recent as 30-40 years ago. Scientists remain undecided on what is causing the outbreak. An increasingly changing climate- where longer periods of wet and warmer temperatures are reaching high-altitude coffeelands- is one culprit. But John Vandermeer, a scientist at the University of Michigan, believes that an ecosystem damaged by the excessive use of pesticides and fungicides is to blame. For example, a white halo fungus, which has helped to keep coffee rust in-check, has been nearly eradicated through chemical applications in Central America that have also killed off the insects that help germinate it. Coffee industry professionals throughout Central America are looking to get the fungus under control, and small-scale farmers like Pacheco Bop will turn to his cooperative, the Asociacion Chajulense, for expertise and technical help on how to deal with roya. Bill sees this as a critically important role that the cooperative plays. “The coop has technical advisers on staff who are working on this right now,” he said. “And this is an example of another moment where being a part of a larger organization and working together and collaborating is the best way for the farmer to get through this,” he said. The effects of a diminished harvest will be especially bitter for the coffee farmer this year, as the price of coffee has dropped from last year’s near 15-year high. “They’re not getting nearly the amount of supply, so they’re getting affected by the negative trend of production and the negative trend of pricing,” he said. “Just when it looks like it is getting good, then watch out… such is the life of the farmer.” Café Campesino will continue to be committed to learning more about roya and responding to the needs of the cooperatives at origin. “The best thing we can do is support whatever decisions they make,” said Bill.
Cafe Campesino Guatemala Tour 2013
Photos, video and article by Scott Umstattd
In January of 2013, I had the opportunity to go with Cafe Campesino on a cooperative tour of Guatemala. Sure, we all know Cafe Campesino makes great coffee and that this great coffee is traded in a way the best serves the farmers who nurture and grow the beans, but to actually go out and meet the people in this supply chain made a tremendous difference in how I view an already superior product and business model.
The group, about ten of us depending on which day we’re talking about, arrived in Antigua, Guatemala, and soon after we began to learn more about this entire fair-trade process. We met with members of the Manos Campesinos Cooperative in Guatemala City to see how coffee beans are sorted and stored in their gigantic warehouse. An interesting note here- security at the warehouse was very tight, as there was literally millions of dollars of green coffee beans being stored. Not sure if you heard about this, but up in Canada a few months back millions of dollars of maple syrup was stolen from a warehouse. There is value in these raw commodities, so securing the beans is actually a very important thing to consider. We also learned that there is often armed security riding alongside and on the large commercial trucks that transport tons of coffee beans across Guatemala. The thought of bean security had never entered my mind prior to taking this trip. Already on day one, I was learning what it takes to make my daily cups of coffee possible. Also on day one, we had a chance to cup Guatemalan coffee. If you don’t know what cupping is all you need to do is think about how wine aficionados taste, swirl and then spit out wine into a cup to make comments like “It tastes woody with hints on berry and smoke.” or whatever wine tasters say after they spit out their wine. Cupping coffee is pretty much the same thing. People with sophisticated pallets taste the coffee and say things like, “It tastes woody with a hint of berry and smokiness.” If you’ve never cupped or seen coffee being cupped, it makes for quite a sight (and sound). You have to forcibly suck in the coffee from a spoon and this sucking sound, that allows just the right amount of air to come in with the coffee, when repeated over and over again, can be quite funny. Already, just on day one, I had learned two things.
Our group on their first day in Guatemala. Included in this picture are Faith Fuller of Desktop Documentaries; Ronnie from the Sentient Bean; Richard Haas from Earth Natural Foods in Norman, OK; Bill Harris of Cafe Campesino, Sweetwater Organic Coffee and Cooperative Coffees; David Minich and Sissy Ledbetter of Americus, Georgia; Miguel Mateo of Manos Campesinas; Mike Weaver of Sweetwater Organic Coffee and Dave Campbell of Cafe Campesino. More to come!
Our guys are off to Guatemala this week. Geoffrey, Bill, Dave, David Minich and Mike of the Sweetwater and Cafe Campesino crew are headed out, as well as our customers Ronnie from the Sentient Bean in Savannah and Richard from Earth Natural Foods in Norman, Oklahoma. Plus, a few folks from Americus- Sissy Dudley Ledbetter will be there exploring the coffeelands and hanging out a little longer to visit yoga retreats along Lake Atitlan (hopefully she’ll be rallying the troops state-side to join her on future trips!) and photographer extraordinaire Scott Umstattd and his documentarienne wife Faith Fuller will be rounding out the Americus contingent. FTW looks forward to some fantastic photos, (hopefully some wonderful videos) and some even better stories of this 2013 coffeelands travel trip. Here’s what some of our travelers have to say pre-departure:
FTW: What are you anticipating about this trip?
GH: I’m trying not to have too many anticipations. As this is my second coffee trip, I especially look forward to meeting farmers and their families and learning more about the entire process, so I can share it with my customers at music festivals and events.
FTW: How might you share your story at music festivals, and where is your next one, by the way?
GH: Stories, specifics, pictures, so I can help my customers understand what goes into growing a fine coffee. We’ll be at Aura Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park in February.
Dave Campbell, customer service, order processing & purchasing, Cafe Campesino
FTW: What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming trip to Guatemala?
DC: “Volcanoes & tequila.” [insert a good laugh and a pause that involved DC shuttling orders to our production crew.] “I’m looking forward to seeing Miguel [Mateo] and Miguel [Tzoy] again- folks that I’ve met here in Americus that I’m going to get to see again at their homes. I remember Miguel Tzoy [commercial coordinator at the Chajul cooperative in El Quiche] inviting me to have a meal with his family (after he had a meal with mine in Americus when he visited in 2009). I didn’t expect necessarily for that to come true, but now I’m thinking it might. Also Miguel Mateo [of Manos Campesinas]- I went with he and Tripp to Gainesville to see Sweetwater and University of Florida, and we were roomies along the trip! It will be fun to see him again.
FTW: You’ve been eating a plant-based diet for about a year now. (and lost nearly 40lbs doing it!) Are you going to eat meat on this trip?
DC: If they’re willing to kill a chicken for me while I’m there, I’m willing to eat a little sopa de pollo.
Mike Weaver, Production Manager, Sweetwater Organic Coffee
FTW: Mike… tell us a little bit about yourself.
MW: I’m a Sagittarius…I like long walks on the beach and cold nights by the fire with a nice pinot noir. Last book read, The Godfather…
FTW: What are you looking forward to about this trip?
MW: I’m looking forward to learning the ins and outs of the production of our wonderful product and to establish long-term bonds to help tell the story of our crop-to-cup family we call our co-op.
FTW: What are you most excited about?
BH: Traveling with such a great group of Cafe Campesino and Sweetwater Organic Coffees friends and supporters. Everyone is obviously eager to learn more about the people and coffee of Guatemala.
FTW: What are you most nervous about?
BH: Nervous? Why worry? Does no good
Berhanu Legesse Hailemariam, deputy general manager of the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, will be at Cafe Campesino Coffee House in Americus on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. He will be joining staff members of Cooperative Coffees, North America’s only green bean importing cooperative of roasters, to discuss the coffee supply chain. The general public is encouraged to attend.
The Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union is based in Southern Ethiopia. It began representing small-scale farmers in 2001 and has grown to become the second largest coffee producing cooperative union in Ethiopia. Today, SCFCU represents 46 cooperatives and more than 80,000 people.
Cafe Campesino Coffee House and Roastery
725 Spring Street
Americus, Georgia 31709
Another busy summer is allowing me little time to write, but I wanted to make sure I shared some of the great experiences we had during Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) and the Georgia River Network’s annual river trip, Paddle Georgia.
Held June 2-9 in North Georgia, BRAG was a tough one this year for the under-trained rider. We heard many “that was a tough day” and “that last hill was killer” (Remember Dalton). I suppose that is why we made more iced mochas than ever before. Smoothies were also a big hit and a healthy way to end the ride. We couldn’t have done it without the help of Kristin who added the “Fair Trade Friend” to our week-long bracelet wearers and Samson, a professional musician who adds a classy touch to any coffeehouse.
Also thanks for John and Nicole’s help in Dalton getting us better organized for the rest of the ride and Stephan’s daily help with smoothies. Thanks to the BRAG crew for helping us with setup and logistics, and to all the riders who joined us each day for the coffee and the fun! Together we again raised funds to support the Dream Team ride, and what a great team they had this year!
After BRAG, we had a layover in Athens, where we prepared for the Georgia River Network’s Paddle Georgia trip, and Kristin put up with sleeping in a truck so she could join me on the next leg of our adventure (thank you, Kristin!). This year’s Paddle Georgia was held June 16-22 on the Altamaha River from Reidsville to Darien, in Southeast Georgia- where the gators are. Though there were few spottings of gators, the stories from the river where rich and interesting. It was great seeing all of our regular friends and meeting some new fair trade friends this year.
The addition of a photo contest near the end of the week led to some fun bantering about who would win. I’ll be glad when the winner is announced in the Fair Grounds newsletter. I know it will be a tough decision! Thanks for all the great assistance from the Paddle Georgia crew, and some great volunteers including Sebastion, our favorite helper for 3 years running.
Thanks to everyone for another great summer across Georgia!
Pick up the below card at one of the three participating locations & get great deals to celebrate World Fair Trade Day in Atlanta on Saturday, May 12.
This little guy is called the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Every spring, he flies 500 or more miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico to spend his summer in the Eastern U.S. & Canada. He is commonly found in Georgia and throughout the Southeast, which serve as his breeding grounds during the summer months. When he leaves in the fall, he travels to ecologically diverse forests in Mexico, Central America and South America where he can find food and habitat to spend the winter. Shade-grown coffee farms provide some of this habitat. Increasingly in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s, ecologically diverse forests throughout Central and South America have been clear-cut, often to grow large fields of one crop that is meant to be produced in large volumes. Some coffee is grown this way. This type of farming destroys the ecological diversity of an area, attracts pests and requires high-inputs of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to keep crops alive. Shade-grown coffee is the opposite of that type of agriculture. It preserves ecologically diverse woodlands that provide habitat for hummingbirds (and other neo-tropical migratory birds), keeps chemicals out of coffee fields and away from farmers and local residents. It also allows the farmer to grow other trees & plants that can be revenue-generating, such as lime , cocoa, and avocado trees, or in the case of Guatemala, cardamom plants. All of the coffees used at Sweetwater and Cafe Campesino are shade-grown. Cafe Campesino is proud to have partnered with the Atlanta Audubon Society to help raise awareness about the role that shade grown coffee plays in preserving habitat for neo-tropical migratory birds. Look for the Atlanta Audubon Society‘s special blend of coffee at AAS events, or purchase it online. Cafe Campesino gives 10% off all sales of this coffee to the Atlanta Audubon Society. Join the Atlanta Audubon Society or your local Audubon group on Field Trips to learn more about birds in your area.