Bees Partner with Coffee Farmers to Save the Farm

By Janice Nadworny, co-director of Food 4 Farmers

Ed. Note: Like so many farmers and workers around the world, coffee producers can face challenges that threaten their livelihoods – from natural disasters like la roya to inadequate local resources. Here, Food 4 Farmers shares one possible solution for these communities. Not only does beekeeping facilitate viable income diversification, but it also helps to sustain the environment for future harvests.

The following is an excerpt of a post originally published on Fairtrade America.

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A survey of households in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala found that, on average, 63% of coffee households suffered food insecurity during the year. This seasonal food insecurity has a name: Los Meses Flacos, or the thin months of hunger. Families survive by eating less, eating cheap processed food, or going into debt to buy food. (SCAA, from the Blueprint to End Hunger)

Many families resort to off-farm work, neglecting the needs of their farms, with negative consequences for the following year’s harvest. My NGO, Food 4 Farmers, is working to make sure coffee farmers have the option to stay and thrive. Continue reading

The Secret Life of Bees

By Nikki Seibert Kelley for the Bee Cause Project

“In the end, we only conserve what we love, we only love what we understand, and we understand only what we are taught.”

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Under the dabbled light of a subtropical forest, the sweet smell from coffee flowers entices one of java’s smallest customers: the honeybee.

Honeybees are attracted to coffee flowers for their sugary, high-quality nectar. According to recent studies, visits from pollinators have been shown to increase coffee yields by as much as 50%.

Continue reading