When I received the news that Dr. Denis Mukwege received the Nobel Peace prize, I began to cry. Instant emotion took over my body as I shed tears for the thousands of survivors Dr. Mukwege has treated, the thousands of survivors that are on the road to recovery and the thousands of survivors that hide in the shadows. How has the world come to such a place that sexual violence is used as an act of war: one that divides families, destroys communities, and physically harms women, children and men of all ages? While unimaginable, it is the reality for many places around the world— but the world is watching and what we do next matters.
Frankie PondolphDecember 10, 2018
Frankie PondolphJuly 11, 2018
In early April, Carly Kadlec and Mike Mowry of Equal Exchange traveled to Manos Campesinas in Guatemala alongside cuppers from three partner cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico to join an evaluation of experimental coffee varieties resisting coffee leaf rust (la roya), a devastating fungus affecting coffee production.
Frankie PondolphApril 18, 2018
In November 2017, I wrote a post about the Honduran presidential election for this blog and I followed that up recently with a short update on current events in Honduras. In this blog, I asked my friend and Café Orgánico Marcala S.A. (COMSA) member Betty Perez Zelaya to join the conversation to provide context on the election, her perspective, and to share a deeper analysis of the COMSA vision. Betty is a member of COMSA, works as part of the certification team, and also manages her own farm.
Frankie PondolphApril 9, 2018
In mid-December 2017, I wrote a post for this blog to share an update on the November 2017 presidential election in Honduras. My colleague Beth Ann Caspersen and I had planned on visiting our partners at Café Orgánico Marcala S.A. (COMSA) but decided to postpone our trip due to political unrest and uncertainty immediately following the presidential election (see original post here for more background). I was able to reschedule my trip to COMSA in February 2018 and wanted to share an update on the political situation in Honduras. Next week, I will post an excerpt from an interview with COMSA member Betty Perez Zelaya with her perspective on the elections, the impact on COMSA and its members, and a broader look at what COMSA is trying to do in Honduras.
Frankie PondolphMarch 26, 2018
On Wednesday, February 13, a delegation from Equal Exchange and the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) arrived at Cooperativa Zacarias Padilla in the coffee-growing village of Quibuto in the mountains of northern Nicaragua.The Zacarias Padilla cooperative, founded in 1992, has 61 members: 18 women and 43 men. It's a "primary-level" co-op; members market their coffee through the secondary-level PRODECOOP, which serves as processor and exporter for small-farmer groups.
Frankie PondolphMarch 12, 2018
This year we asked our director of purchasing and production, Todd Caspersen, to conduct a critical analysis of how we think our coffee farmer cooperatives are faring. His assessment is sobering. We have decided to share it in this space, unsparing and unfiltered, believing that this level of analysis will make all of us more informed and enable us to critically assess where in the years to come we can collectively make the most progress in building supply chains that truly work for small scale coffee farmers, Equal Exchange and our customers.
Carly KadlecJanuary 9, 2018
I often tell people that the easiest part of being a green coffee buyer is actually buying the coffee. The much more complicated and interesting part of my job is collaborating with our producer partners to work on the issues and threats that coffee-growing communities face. One of the big contemporary threats to coffee production is the aging of coffee farmers.
Carly KadlecDecember 8, 2017
This week I was supposed to visit our producer partners at Café Orgánico Marcala S.A. (COMSA) in Marcala, La Paz, Honduras, along with Equal Exchange Coffee Quality Manager Beth Ann Caspersen, to discuss milling practices, contracts, and ongoing project work with our counterparts at COMSA. However, due to political unrest we decided to reschedule our trip so as not to put any of our partners at risk, and recognizing that our work could be put on hold while the Honduran people are fighting for democracy.
Carly KadlecAugust 15, 2017Categories:
Do you remember hearing about coffee leaf rust, or la roya, over the last few years? Coffee leaf rust is a fungus that has greatly impacted coffee production across the producer world in Central and South America during the last few harvest cycles. While it is not a new fungus, this most recent flare up has wreaked havoc on the household level across not only the Equal Exchange supply chain but throughout Latin America. Besides being a top-level crisis in and of itself, it also has helped to more fully reveal long-term challenges and problems in coffee supply chains.
Equal ExchangeAugust 8, 2017
Twelve years ago this week, Equal Exchange began roasting after building the largest worker-owned coffee roasting operation in the U.S. - and maybe the world. We import green (unroasted) coffee from small farmer co-ops and roast it, making it a direct, cooperative supply chain from farmers to Equal Exchange to you. The beans are roasted on two machines: the G120, which was installed in 2005, and the R1000, which came two years later. In July, we roasted an average of about 22,000 pounds of green coffee per day!