For your early holiday shopping consideration today, a new book from Phyllis Johnson, President and Co-founder of BD Imports and a founding member of The Coffee Coalition For Racial Equity. It's called The Triumph: Black Brazilians In Coffee, and it's a case study on two farming families in Brazil coming to terms with legacy and opportunity in the 21st century.
“Black Brazilians were at the forefront of coffee production almost 300 years ago, an enslaved labor force then, yet today relegated to production and invisibility in prominent roles,” says the book's press materials, sent to Sprudge by BD Imports. “Phyllis Johnson’s new book, The Triumph: Black Brazilians In Coffee, highlights families who are finding new pathways.”
More from the press release:
In Johnson’s 20 years of working as a green coffee importer she noticed the absence of prominent Black Brazilians in the trade. Relationships established through the International Women’s Coffee Alliance Brazil chapter gave way for Johnson to learn more about the status of Black Brazilians in the industry. Visits to Brazil and meetings with the farmers allowed Johnson a chance to understand some of the challenges. Few Black families owned coffee farms, and many worked in the fields throughout generations as sharecroppers or employees. The lack of cashflow keeps farmers from being able to sell into the international market therefore, their coffees are sold at lower price levels locally. “My hope is that this book will not only enlighten but also challenge the global coffee trade to consider more inclusive supply partners.”
The proceeds from the sale of the book will be split between the farmers and Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity. “The families highlighted in the book are amazing,” Johnson tells Sprudge. “I’m hopeful that we can grow the number of farmers over the years. We are starting small with two families. The Peixotos are a big family that followed basic lessons taught to them by their parents. They attribute their ability to work together as being critical to one day owning land and producing specialty coffee. We totally underestimate the value in working together.”
“Since 2008 when we discovered that we could produce specialty coffees, we started to feed the dream of exporting our coffees, dreams that seemed increasingly distant due to the difficulties we would face,” Neide Peixoto tells Sprudge. The Peixoto family's work is featured in Johnson's book. “I met Phyllis, this strong and very special woman who also brought the dream of a project that would help not only us, but also other coffee growers. And it is with great joy that today we see that dream come true. An immense gratitude to Phyllis for believing and investing in us to make this dream come true.”
“The industry should be more inclusive,” Johnson continues, “and move beyond what feels comfortable and develop new relationships that afford opportunity to more individuals especially when we think about not just the history of coffee but who is doing the work in the fields today.”
The book is available now via BD Imports online.
This book is published in partnership with Roast Magazine.