Started in 1996, the LWR Coffee Project is a collaboration between Equal Exchange and Lutheran World Relief to involve Lutheran communities and individuals in supporting small farmers around the world.
For each pound of fairly traded coffee, tea, and foods Lutherans purchase through the LWR Coffee Project, 20 cents per pound goes to LWR's Small Farmer Fund. That Fund amounted to $34,435.48 in 2014 alone!
The Small Farmers Fund has supported a number of LWR projects across multiple regions. Below, are a few projects that the SFF supported in recent years:
- “Strengthening Small Coffee Farmers in Flores through Capacity Building;” Program Dates 10/14– 9/15; This project aims to improve the livelihood and strengthen the ability of 100 small-scale farmers in Flores, Indonesia through teaching sustainable agriculture efforts. Farmers on the island of Flores have practiced agriculture that relied on access to the forests covering the island. However, in 2005 much of the forest was reserved as a public trust by the government, and several communities lost the ability to practice their traditional agricultural methods. Currently, LWR is working with farmers and cooperatives in two villages in the Ngada district to improve cultivation techniques that will increase the quantity and quality of coffee production and improve the post-harvest processing system.
- “Strengthening Food Autonomy and Self Government in Arhuaca Communities of Ye; ” Program Dates: 5/13 – 7/14; ). In partnership with Programa de Desarrollo y Paz del Cesar, LWR worked to reduce food insecurity by improving the marketing, production and institutional organization for coffee produced by three indigenous communities. This project directly worked with 4, 629 individuals, specifically 1,929 men and 2,700 women, while promoting sustainable agriculture and strengthening self-government among the Arhuaca communities to improve indigenous economies and food autonomy.
- APOKO: Coffee producers working together in Rachuonyo South to sustain their livelihoods; Program Dates: 8/12 – 9/14; LWR worked to improve the livelihood of more than 5,500 coffee producers in the Rachounyao South district in Kenya by significantly increasing both coffee production and farmers’ income. LWR aided these producers in having ownership in and access to quality services from 3 Coffee Cooperative Societies with strong systems to organize, serve their members, and provide quality services to their membership.
With 100 local partners, LWR works to improve harvests, health and education in some 35 countries each year. LWR partners train local women and men to produce local foods, dig low-cost wells and protect and restore their local environments. Some partners are small village groups on the edge of the Sahara. Others are nationwide programs that may reach across the Andes. LWR has learned that the future in health, agriculture and education often lies with the hearts and hands of women. We have learned that disaster can sometimes be prevented or withstood by effective development programs and that, when disasters do occur, LWR partners may be on the spot well before the world notices and still needed long after the crisis no longer commands front-page headlines.
Throughout its history, LWR has worked on behalf of U.S. Lutherans. Basic support today is provided through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America World Hunger Appeal and by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief.
Equal Exchange is a Fair Trade organization that buys directly from small-scale farmer cooperatives, owned and run by the farmers themselves. Because our farmer partners are paid above market prices for their crops, they are able to make investments in community projects, educational programs, and technical trainings. These cooperative organizations also help keep rural communities healthy and strong, and keep local cultures vibrant. Equal Exchange is also committed to supporting sustainable farming methods that help green the earth through reforestation, natural resource conservation and organic practices.
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