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The Coffee Farmer: Misconceptions And Actual Diversity

Lisanne Oonk, Advisor Sustainable Economic Development and Gender at KIT and Coffee Sales at Primavera Coffee Importers

Common assumptions and stereotype images of coffee producers in the global South can affect the relationships that people working in the specialty coffee industry try to establish with farmers. Lisanne’s presentation will challenge these assumptions as she guides the audience through the dominant discourses of producer representation in the specialty sector and how the reality of poverty and diversity in producer life is perceived in the global North.

Ivania Calderón will join Lisanne to deliver a key part of the presentation with a focus on the actual diversity of producers in different regions, countries, communities and families.

Developing on Lisanne and Ivania's presentation, CoLab'ers will be invited to create a campaign. This campaign should challenge stereotype thinking on coffee origins and coffee producers and aim to trigger dialogue among contributors at different stages of the value chain.

As a cultural anthropologist Lisanne is fascinated by the many stories that coffee has to tell; about people, the world and their history. She fell in love with coffee when she was working as a quality coordinator at Trabocca, a specialty coffee importer in Amsterdam. A magical world full of flavors opened, she became a Q grader and learnt a lot about quality challenges throughout the supply chain. Her curiosity has always been more towards producing regions and when she got the opportunity to work at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam as an advisor on socioeconomic development and gender in agricultural value chains, she did not have to think twice. She loves everything that has to do with coffee quality and social justice, especially when the two are combined. In 2017 she started an origin project in Peru, Sweet Coffee Grounds, where she worked on coffee quality improvement with small farmer groups. In the same year, she launched a limited edition of coffee produced by an all-women chain" called Maria’s Fiesta – coffee that she bought from Ivania Calderon and her mother (Northern Nicaragua) - and was roasted by a women owned roastery (Back to Black) in Amsterdam. Now she is starting a new adventure with Third Wave Coffee Source/ Primavera Coffee Importers, a Guatemalan based exporter and importer that works with producers all over Guatemala.