Boots, hat and sunscreen on, I lead my group among the paths of a northern Sumatra coffee farm in Indonesia. How did I get here? Oddly enough, the story starts with an impromptu visit to Starbucks a decade ago.
I am part of Generation X — the generation of men and women who have struggled to find “the something else that’s out there.” I have felt that struggle for many years, wondering what more I could do to make this world a better, more peaceful place.
Before class one morning in grad school in South Carolina, I popped into my local Starbucks for a latte. While waiting for a friend, I happened to read the back of the coffee cup. I learned that Starbucks was partnering with an organization called Conservation International (CI) to consider how Starbucks’ business practices impacted the people growing their coffee. I thought to myself then — and feel the same way today, if not more so — that this type of work is the answer to the question: “What else can be done?”
Fast forward 10 years — I’m now a CI staff member, working with Starbucks on their Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices ethical sourcing program and climate change investments. I’m in Indonesia for Starbucks’ annual Origin Experience trip, learning together with Starbucks partners (how Starbucks refers to their employees) about how coffee is grown, processed, milled and eventually brought to market.
Read the rest of this article on CI's blog: http://blog.conservation.org/2012/07/from-south-carolina-to-sumatra-all-thanks-to-a-cup-of-coffee/