Roast House’s tasty new coffee offerings come from programs that empower women and entire communities in coffee-growing regions. “Women premium” programs, like any other social movement, have evolved through the years from a struggling infancy to effective and productive maturity. In most major regions, coffee farming is a multi-generational practice that includes the labor of entire families. These programs originally diverted funds from the sale of a crop to pay working women directly, which can cause rifts between men and women within farming communities.
Today, with the help of badass importers like our friends at Sustainable Harvest and Cafe Imports, many organic & fair-trade coffee producers are able to name a price that compensates them fairly for the true cost it takes to grow specialty coffee. The conventionally divisive structures are shifting to promote women in leadership positions to train women in the harvesting and processing of coffee. We see the pressure of providing for families more evenly distributed and we see women with the access and agency to create their own livelihoods! When we think of coffee production being called “sustainable,” it must include environmental, social, AND economic factors. In order to do that, decision making must occur with the next generation in mind. Gender equity initiatives are leading the way with this definition of sustainability.
Due to the great work of our partners, we have been able to transition from carrying one or two “women premium” coffees as limited releases to introducing them to our core lineup! In this way we can provide a continual support to gender equity initiatives that preserve natural ecosystems, increase coffee quality, and increase the economic independence of coffee-growing communities. You may have seen our very own Deb in Rwanda recently witnessing the powerful work of Sustainable Harvest programs for women in action! Check out this awesome Spokesman Review article about her trip.