Yesterday, we brought news of $150,000 in donations that Seattle Coffee Gear would be giving out to baristas, cafes, roasters, and techs across the United States to help those out of work and struggling to make ends meets during the shutdowns caused by COVID-19. But that was not the only significant donation made that day. Mirroring those efforts but at the other end of the coffee supply chain, Sustainable Harvest announced the launch of a relief fund to provide direct aid to farming families to the tune of $156,000.
The launch of this new initiated was timed to coincide with #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of philanthropy whereby individuals are encouraged to give what they can to a charity or cause of their choosing. For a green coffee importer like Sustainable Harvest, that cause is clear: farming communities facing “lockdowns, enforced curfews, travel restrictions and road closures” due to COVID-19.
To assist these individuals, Sustainable Harvest is using the fund to put together relief kits. Though the kits will differ from community to community depending on need, they will include staple food items like “pasta, tuna, rice, beans, tortillas, and grains,” personal protective equipment (PPE) for producers and essential workers, and cleaning supplies to be used both at home and in the workplace. Per Sustainable Harvest, each kit will cost roughly $112 USD on average and will last four weeks for a family of four.
Sustainable Harvest President Liam Brody tells Sprudge:
In coffee, there are thousands of baristas out of work and hundreds of small roasters and cafes barely hanging on. We are all struggling right now in some way, shape, or form—especially with exhaustion, feelings of isolation, and the overwhelming fear of how we’ll keep going. For farm families, many of whom have already been hanging by a thread after years of low and stagnant coffee prices, it’s like those feelings are on steroids! In the most remote areas of the coffeelands, access to safe, affordable food and medicine is limited at best. All of us in coffee who are not farmers ultimately owe our livelihoods, our adventures, our careers to the families who toil in the coffeelands. Sustainable Harvest has always prided itself on embracing a model based on relationships, not just transactions. Those relationships are now in serious jeopardy. They are our friends, our partners, and our lifeblood. We’ve asked them what they need. Our producer partners have told us. Now we are taking action.
And you can join in the effort. Along with the initial $156,000, Sustainable Harvest has set up a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising an additional $10,000 to go toward the relief efforts. Though all amounts are welcome, Sustainable Harvest is requesting donations equal to kits they will be sending to farming families. They range in price from $15 for one PPE kit to $112 for a full food and PPE kit, with two- and four-week food kits in between, at $37 and $74, respectively.
For more information on the producer relief fund, visit Sustainable Harvest’s official website. If you are able and would like to add to the $156,000, you can make a donation at the GoFundMe page here.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.