Today, we will take a look at a non-profit we admire out of Burlington, VT, called Food 4 Farmers. Their mission is "to facilitate the implementation of sustainable food security programs in coffee-growing communities." In particular, they focus on collaborative work by emphasizing building local knowledge and capacity for individuals to solve their own problems by working through coffee cooperatives.
"Through a collaborative approach and partnerships, our goal is to transfer the tools and knowledge that coffee-farming families—and their communities—need for long-term food security," said Janice Nadworny, Co-Director of Food 4 Farmers. "One of the most exciting aspects of our work is witnessing this transformation from dependency to self-sufficiency."
The most eye-catching piece of their work to someone like me—who has been a part of and studied a number of non-profit and NGO models—is the following, in their own words:
"We don’t import a simplistic, one-size-fits-all model—we help communities identify locally appropriate solutions and strategies—and support them in managing their progress."
Though they are a fledgling non-profit, their small staff brings a range of experiences from the non-profit and academic world to the table. They are already well respected within and connected to the coffee industry with the likes of Rick Peyser (formerly of Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, currently working with Lutheran World Relief) on their board of directors.
Over the last four years, they have worked to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate food security strategies in Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia.
We are now in the second year of funding a food security project with Food 4 Farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, with CESMACH, a co-op that is part of Union el Triunfo. Food 4 Farmers is currently assessing the strengths and challenges of and resources available to the cooperative as they work to address seasonal hunger.
"Counter Culture has been a key partner in this work, stepping up to make the long-term investments necessary to help coffee-farming families thrive," Nadworny added.
To learn more about the great work Food 4 Farmers is doing click here.