Earlier this summer I wrote an article about seasonal hunger in coffee producing countries and a phenomenon called Los Mesas Flacos (The Thin Months). Every year in Central America, many small holder coffee growers deplete their coffee harvest money by May and have to wait until the new harvest begins in November before they will see more income. This coincidentally comes at a time when food prices are the highest of the year due to the fact that many food crops won’t be harvest until the fall. The result of this unfortunate coincidence is seasonal hunger. There is a really great documentary about this issue and what is being done to combat it called After the Harvest – Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands.
My article from this summer and the issue of seasonal hunger popped into my head this morning as I was perusing my Twitter account. While reading various complaints about the weather and all of morning Tweeps “coffee updates,” I noticed a few of my friends had new profile pictures…and they were all the same. Curious, I began digging and discovered that they were supporting a new movement in Milwaukee… Food Fight MKE. I popped into their website and read some all too familiar information:
“1 in 4 Wisconsin families with children experience food hardships.”
“In Milwaukee, summer hunger is very real. When school lets out, tens of thousands of Milwaukee children are at risk of malnutrition. Many of them end up at food pantries and soup kitchens, straining the already stressed emergency feeding network’s ability to feed the hungry.”
Sounds familiar, right? In my role here at Stone Creek, I spend a lot of time thinking (and talking) about issues facing the coffee industry and the people in our supply chain. While I firmly believe that this is an important part of my role as a coffee buyer, I also know that it would be irresponsible of me to focus my time and energy solely on issues abroad when the exact same issue exists in my own backyard.
In coffee, we have great organizations like Food 4 Farmers and Coffee Kids helping to address the problem of seasonal hunger. Now, in Milwaukee, we have a great organization called Food Fight MKE helping to address seasonal hunger here at home. Please take a few minutes this morning and check out their website. They have many ways for you to help be it financially, by using your voice or giving your time.
Have a great week.