Is it possible to grow, harvest and roast coffee in a way that respects both the environment and the community? Students Rebecca, Jia, Kanika and Stuart have the answer!
What is Lavazza’s Coffee Study Program?
The Coffee Study Program is the perfect example of Lavazza’s commitment towards the land where our coffee grows, the farmers who grow it and the local organizations involved with the manufacturing process.
As protagonists of Lavazza’s Coffee Study Program, four students embarked on an expedition to discover the world of sustainable coffee.
Let’s see what these four students found out on their expedition.
As a student focusing on agriculture and environmental policy, Rebecca thought she had a clear idea of what farming communities would be like. However, as she joined the farmers of Neiba, a town in the southeastern regions of the Dominican Republic, that idea turned into something richer.
In Neiba, community means that every single member is involved and knows things about coffee – from how to grow and care for it, which of its parts should be discarded, and what makes great coffee.
During her time with the community, Rebecca came to three important realizations: one, the community required support and tools to thrive; two, their work was about more than mere employment and production, it was about empowerment; and three, what made them so successful was their cooperative commitment to the quality rather than the quantity of their coffee.
Rebecca was pleased to see what the Lavazza Foundation was doing to support these communities. By starting with helping to finance farming equipment that allows these communities to better process the coffee beans and reach the global markets, both Rebecca and Lavazza hope to help carry on the legacy of a coffee community and improve the quality of coffee all over the world.
For Kanika, the voyage started in the home of Lavazza in Turin. Her journey entailed tracing coffee production to its origins, down to the coffee plantations in the Caribbean.
There, in Lavazza’s hometown, Kanika was amazed by the experience of coffee: “The coffee culture in Turin is special” – she said – “Here, people live coffee in the moment, rather than using it as a simple energy boost.”
At Lavazza, Coffee was more than just a mere product. Along every step of its cycle, from production to consumption, coffee touched the lives of individuals and communities all over the world. Through tools, investments and training, Lavazza supports coffee farmers regardless of whether they will become business partners.
Kanika was pleasantly surprised to discover that CSR (corporate social responsibility) was a key value the brand focused on. Much like Kanika, Lavazza wasn’t merely investing money in these communities, they were also investing heart in what they do.
Coffee runs in Stuart’s family. Back in Uganda, he’d join his grandmother on the plantation, working alongside her.
During his days in the Dominican Republic with the Coffee Study Program, Stuart gained a new perspective on the craft of coffee farming – a perspective first gained by climbing a mountain.
“Where I come from, with my grandmother, we grow coffee. But we grow it on flat land. Witnessing it grow well in the mountains was a surprise.”
Stuart’s new perspective was shaped by more than mere altitude. By examining the present,
Stuart asked himself: “What role can young people play in coffee production?” The answer is simple: follow your father.
When young generations learn from their parents, by growing, picking and processing coffee together, they lay the foundations for their own future – creating a business that is both economically and environmentally viable. “Coffee is generational. I love how families come together to contribute to a bigger goal.” – Said Stuart.
Stuart sees being part of Coffee Study program as an opportunity to be part of a great change. Together with Lavazza, his goal is to provide communities with all the necessary tools to face the challenges of today’s climate change.
Jia Yi, a young student of International Development, had the invaluable opportunity to meet with the organizations trying to create a fair and rewarding coffee market while she was in the Dominican Republic.
Together with companies like the Lavazza Foundation, organizations like CONCAFED (Confederacion Cafetalera Dominicana) and CODOCAFE (Consejo Dominicano del Cafe) were founded to empower coffee farmers, make their voices heard and create a shared spaces for dialogue.
It was clear to Jia Yi that these organizations were a clear example of how uniting can help support the resilience of farmers. “As a single entity, the Confederation is powerful, but coupled with NGOs and organizations like the Lavazza Foundation it becomes even more powerful.” stated Jia yi.
It became clear to Jia yi that true power lies in collectivity. By working together with the Lavazza foundation, her goal is to effect big changes by making better choices when it comes to the little things in life, like the everyday choices we make in our daily routines.