TraceableCoffee.org Lets Coffee Consumers Use the Web to Tip Global Farmers for a Job Well Done
Small-scale family farmers in the developing world produce 75% of the world’s coffee supply, but with the coffee market dominated by multi-national corporations, real prices paid to farmers flutuate wildly and are often less than the cost of production. For these farmers, as little as a few extra dollars a month can mean the difference between staying on the farm or not. Farmer-owned Traceablecoffee.org is the first ever web-based system for getting much-needed funds directly into the pockets of coffee farmers, enabling coffee lovers to pinpoint exactly where their morning cup came from and learn about the farmer who grew it.
According to research by The Hartman Group, one-third of Americans are willing to pay more for products that benefit the environment or contribute to social justice. Increasingly, consumers crave authentic stories about the food and drink they put on their tables and a deeper connection with artisan producers. TraceableCoffee.org is the only absolutely direct, efficient, and transparent mechanism for connecting coffee lovers to over 100 farmers in far-flung corners of the world, and ensuring that those farmers receive better compensation for producing exceptional, environmentally friendly coffee.
“For coffee farmers in Ethiopia and other coffee-producing countries to improve their standard of living and continue to grow this luxury product, a larger percentage of the retail dollar needs to reach those farmers,” said Tadesse Meskela, of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia. “TraceableCoffee.org bypasses the middlemen and lets farmers tell their own stories. In turn, consumers can pay a little extra for a premium product, all of which goes directly to the farmer.”
Web-based technology is increasingly used to create a global community of caring and connection, offering more efficient transfer of funds and inspiring relationships between consumers in industrialized countries and producers in the developing world.
“We’re using technology to put a human face on a commodity product that Americans savor every day. Coffee lovers don’t think twice about providing a well-deserved tip to a barista, so why not use your smart phone or computer to tip the actual farmers who grew your coffee,” said Thaleon Tremain, General Manager, Pachamama Coffee Cooperative. “This isn’t charity, but a chance at a more direct and meaningful relationship with your coffee farmer.”
The technology is easy to use, right in the grocery aisle or at home at the computer. Consumers enter a code from their Traceable Coffee package into TraceableCoffee.org or use their mobile smart phone to scan the quick response barcode on the package, right in the grocery aisle. Each of the over 100 farmers in the program has a unique digital ID number corresponding to the package codes. Users get immediate information about the farmer who grew the coffee, including high quality videos and images by renowned photographer Olaf Hammelburg. Google maps show users the exact GPS location of each small farm, and a virtual tip jar lets consumers leave a tip.
Traceable Coffee can be purchased online and in select grocery stores and co-ops across the country.
Traceable Coffee.org is a project of Pachamama, the first global cooperative of coffee farmers, consisting of more than 140,000 small-scale producers in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Ethiopia. Pachamama is the largest farmer-owned co-op based in the US and is the only coffee company to use sophisticated information technology that lets coffee farmers tell their own stories to consumers. This authentic connection with consumers is unprecedented in the coffee industry, enabling farmers to differentiate outside of the commodity crop model and earn a better wage. Pachamama is a distributor of Traceable Coffee, a web-based tool that lets consumers learn about and tip the individual farmer that grew their coffee, whether the farmer is in Ethiopia or Guatemala. TraceableCoffee.org was developed by the farmers on the site with additional support from Agriterra and The Global Development Marketplace. Pachamama is also a distributor of the soon-to-launch CoffeeCSA, a community supported agriculture model that will allow consumers to subscribe to regular deliveries of roasted coffee from specific family farmers. Both CoffeeCSA and Traceable Coffee reside under the Pachamama farmer-owned umbrella and use technology to create a sense of community, connection, understanding, and transparency between small-scale coffee farmers and individual consumers. Pachamama coffees are Organic and Fair Trade Certified, hand-roasted in small batches and available on the Pachamama website and at over 100 independent and cooperative grocery retailers.