Our morning cups of coffee connect us to a global industry and an export crisis in the tropics that is destroying livelihoods, undermining the cohesion of families and communities, and threatening ecosystems. Confronting the Coffee Crisis explores small-scale farming, the political economy of the global coffee industry, and initiatives that claim to promote more sustainable rural development in coffee-producing communities. Contributors review the historical, political, economic, and agroecological processes within today's coffee industry and analyze the severely depressed export market that faces small-scale growers in Mexico and Central America.
The book presents a series of interdisciplinary, empirically rich case studies showing how small-scale farmers manage ecosystems and organize collectively as they seek useful collaborations with international NGOs and coffee companies to create opportunities for themselves in the coffee market. The findings demonstrate the interconnections among farmer livelihoods, biodiversity, conservation, and changing coffee markets. Additional chapters examine alternative trade practices, certification, and eco-labeling, discussing the politics and market growth of organic, shade-grown, and Fair Trade coffees. Combining interdisciplinary research with case-study analysis at scales ranging from the local to the global, Confronting the Coffee Crisis reveals the promise and the perils of efforts to create a more sustainable coffee industry.
Christopher M. Bacon, David B. Bray, Sasha Courville, Jonathan A. Fox, Stephen R. Gliessman, David Goodman, Carlos Guadarrama-Zugasti, Shayna Harris, Roberta Jaffe, María Elena Martinez-Torres, V. Ernesto Méndez, Ellen Contreras Murphy, Tad Mutersbaugh, Seth Petchers, José Luis Plaza-Sanchez, Laura Trujillo, Silke Mason Westphal.
About the Editors
V. Ernesto Méndez is Assistant Professor in the Environmental Program and Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont.
David Goodman is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Jonathan Fox is professor in the School of International Service at American University.
"This book is provocative and innovative in its comprehensive approach to researching and covering the coffee system from field to cup."
—Tom Hanlon-Wilde, Co-owner, Equal Exchange
"The recent coffee crisis in more than fifty countries has exposed, more explicitly than ever, the harsh vulnerability of commodity producers. The considerable human and ecological costs borne by producers and their communities have stimulated a sharp look at the little understood impact of sustainability efforts such as traditional systems, fair trade, or organics. The authors' interdisciplinary, ground-level research is an excellent contribution to current debates as it insightfully explores the interstices and the outcomes of human and environmental collaborations pursued by producers, NGOs, and increasingly, by private firms. The authors' considerable field experience is evident as they go beyond simple black and white analyses to look more deeply at the locally-grounded foundations of sustainability from a holistic agro-ecological perspective."
—Daniele Giovannucci, author of The State of Sustainable Coffee and Coffee Markets: New Paradigms in Global Supply and Demand
"Academics and practitioners working in the field of sustainable development acknowledge that economic, social, political, and ecological dimensions of development are interconnected and need to be understood and addressed simultaneously. Yet few books actually achieve such an integrated approach. Confronting the Coffee Crisis does so admirably and should become a standard reference for all concerned not only with the world of coffee but also with the broader challenge of inclusive development."
—Peter Utting, Deputy Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)