Monday, January 11, 2010

"Cup of Jo"... Anna

I caught a great documentary today at The Princeton Environmental Film Festival called "Strong Coffee: The Story of Cafe Femenino".
It is an inspiring, uplifting, well done and short - just 48 minutes - documentary about marginalized female coffee farmers in Peru who organized (in 2004) into the first all female produced coffee growers in the world.

It is the story of Cafe Femenino and the "Femenino beans". To be a true Femenino bean, the land where the coffee "cherries" are grown must be owned by a woman, all the work to produce the bean, from the picking of the bean to the cleaning to the selling, must be done by women. The coffee beans are sold as Fair Trade, and Organic (generating a premium which benefits the coffee Co-op) and then, because it is a Femenino bean, another 2 cents per pound is paid. This additional money goes directly to the women of Cafe Femenino. They decide how it is spent. Roasters buying these coffee beans must agree to keep the Femenino beans separate from other beans (so no blending) to preserve the integrity of this particular coffee. There is also a "Pay It Forward" element at play here. Roasters buying the Femenino beans agree to contribute a percentage of their profits from the sale of the Femenino coffee to a local women's charity of their choosing or they can send such profits on to The Cafe Femenino Foundation.

The film shows that lives have been improved in the rural hills of Peru. Women's attitudes about themselves and attitudes towards them have been altered. Families are experiencing less domestic violence, more daughters are receiving an education. As expressed in the film, a small gesture like purchasing a cup of coffee can improve lives around the world. One place where you can find Cafe Femenino coffee is Grounds for Change.

And, thanks to my good friend Joanne B. for joining me at this screening.

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