Café Femenino: Coffee with a Cause

What if your morning cup of coffee could change a life? What if you could help lift others out of poverty and repression with something as simple as an order at your local coffee shop? It’s not as inconceivable as you might think.

More than two years ago Snake River Roasting Co partnered with Café Femenino—a coffee co-oprun by women farmers to help empower fellow women in rural coffee-growing regions across the globe. Seeding change from within local communities, Café Femenino is fostering opportunity for those who otherwise would have none. It is combatting gender discrimination and poverty, which are frequently endemic to areas reliant on coffee crops.

Since the organization’s inception in 2004, Café Femenino’s model has been uprooting patriarchal biases and redefining social mores. Dealing directly with women growers Café Femenino helps these farmers to take leadership roles in an industry long dominated by men. It provides education and training resources, and, by keeping crops and payments separate from men’s, ensures women receive the fruits of their labor.

While that may not sound entirely revolutionary for those of us in the States, perfunctory even, it is a big shift towards equality in places where change has been slow coming. Consider that in Peru, for example, more than two in five women live in abuse. Girls often are refused an education and relegated to chores and household work. To own land and support oneself as a woman was before something of a rarity in countries like Bolivia and Nicaragua.

Café Femenino has begun to change the paradigm, and its momentum continues to grow. Conceived by a small cadre of Peruvian farmers, Café Femenino has since expanded to nine countries, including many of the world’s most renowned coffee-growing regions: Guatamala, Sumatra, Brazil and others. All Café Femenino coffees are specialty grade, fully organic, sustainably sourced and above Fair-Trade standards.

For us at Snake River Roasting Co, it is an honor to partner with Café Femenino to supply many of our single origin coffees. (Link to product page) Not only because these amazing women are producing some of the best coffees on the market, but also because we take seriously our commitment to those we work with—no matter how far away they may be. We believe strongly in our collective responsibility to protect lands and waters, as well as the local stewards of them. For us, it’s just the right thing to do.

It’s a sad reality that many of the basic rights most of us take for granted every day are not guaranteed, or even assumed, in other parts of the world—especially for women. But together we can flip the script. By building relationships and partnering with those eager to create better lives for themselves, we can open opportunity where there was little before—one cup of coffee at a time.

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