Hearing from Heifer


I received my latest issue of Heifer’s magazine, “World Ark” yesterday.  It is a fascinating magazine, chock full of information.  The first article I saw was entitled, “What’s the Real Cost of Your Coffee Habit?”  50+% of U.S. adults drink coffee every day, at an average of 3 cups each, but we are not the largest consumers, the Finns drink the most, they consume an eye-popping 26 pounds a year!  Unfortunately the profits from coffee growing and production do not trickle down to the coffee farmers, especially the smaller farmers.  These people operate at an average loss of 46-59% a year.  They earn less than 1% from the sale of a cup of coffee at a coffeeshop.  The average commodity price for coffee is now approximately less than $1 per pound.  Coffee prices have fallen 2/3 since the 1980’s.  Roasters and coffeeshops should pay a minimum of $3 a pound for their coffee to ensure that farmers are able to maintain a decent standard of living.  And, unfortunately, in these situations, coffee farmers are unable to quit unfair employment and get a better job elsewhere.  For many, this is the only option available to them.

What can we do to help?  Ask your barista or email your favorite company to find out how much the people who grow their coffee beans get paid.  If your preferred brand or shop isn’t paying fairly, tell them so.  Consider switching to another brand.  I did some research and found an article taken from The Guardian, reported by the Washington Post disclosing that children as young as eight years old were working eight-hour days for Starbucks and Nespresso coffee.  This saddens me as I always thought that Starbucks paid their growers a fair wage. According to this article, after costs are accounted for, 10p is left for the coffee suppliers, of which 1p goes to the farmer, who uses a fraction of this to pay coffee pickers. (This magazine is published in the U.K., so I have to assume that p = penny).  Since Starbucks is my favorite coffee, I have contacted them to find out what their growers get paid.  I will let you know what I find out.  Discuss unfair prices with friends and family.  It’s all about shining a light into those dark corners where people are exploited and suffer because of it.

We have the power to effect real change.  It all starts with sowing that first seed.

Thanks for stopping by,


“If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.”                      Arab proverb


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