Más que un Café (Stronger Than Coffee)

Categorized as: , , , , , , , on November 6, 2021. Related Grantee: Bean Voyage.

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Editor’s Note: Skees Family Foundation has been working with Bean Voyage for years and not only are they constantly growing, but they are creatively thinking of new ways to help the womxn they are working with. For the past year, they have worked with five smallholder women coffee farmers to develop technical filmmaking and storytelling skills. The women have spent hours experimenting with camcorders, re-writing scripts, interviewing their family members, and deeply considering what coffee means to them. They are finally moving into the editing phase and their films will soon be ready to premiere! Bean Voyage is currently raising funds to support the completion of the project, and they would love your support. As a thank you, there are some fun incentives too, including getting coffee from the farms of the women themselves! You can watch the trailer below and donate here.

By the Bean Voyage Team

The Story of a Cup of Coffee

“The earth is reborn, there are so many miracles everywhere, that we do not even notice. No one would imagine such beauty in a coffee farm.” -Tatiana Vargas

The story of a cup of coffee is the story of a changing climate, gender discrimination, global inequality, and unmatched resilience. The project supports women entrepreneurs to elevate their voices and challenge historical narratives of their lived experiences as coffee farmers. Más que un café is a series of self-directed short films produced by these women. It is the result of a year-long customized virtual training program expanding access to arts and technology education for women who have faced barriers to access. The outcome will contribute to the story of women in agriculture, offer them tools to strengthen their businesses, and affirm self efficacy in a participatory storytelling process shaped directly by the people most qualified to bring this story to the world.

Although the coffee market has expanded exponentially, the majority of smallholder women coffee farmers live below the poverty line. Excluded from access to information and market opportunities, women farmers face significant challenges to mitigate the risks of climate change and a volatile economy. Bean Voyage, a Costa Rican NGO, is partnering with Needle + Frame, a filmmaking and arts collective, to provide storytelling and technical training to 5 smallholder women coffee producers to elevate their voices and add to the data about women in agriculture.

While women make up an estimated 70% of the labor in the global production of coffee, only about 20% of farms are run by women. Those that are face up to a 40% lower revenue compared to their male competitors (Specialty Coffee Association). Small-batch producers struggle to compete in a global market dominated by a few big players, and while the cost of production goes up for farmers, the price point for their product stays flat. As climate change continues to cause unpredictable weather patterns, more work is going into smaller yields. Generations of traditional farming knowledge is at risk of being lost.

Ericka Mora (Café EyF), Maria Jiménez and Arleen Jiménez (Café de Altura – Micro Beneficio La Angostura León Cortés), Tatiana Vargas (Legados Café Artesanal ), and Margoth Rivera (Café Aromas de La Legua- ASIPROFE) have been documenting their lives, challenges, and celebrations for the past year, and are ready to bring their stories to the world.

La Historia de un Café

“La tierra es un renacer, hay tantos milagros por doquier, y no lo notamos. Nadie imaginaría tanta belleza en un cafetal.”- Tatiana Vargas

La historia detrás de una taza de café es la historia de un clima cambiante, discriminación de género, desigualdad global y una resiliencia inigualable. Este proyecto apoya a las emprendedoras a elevar sus voces y desafiar las narrativas existentes sobre sus experiencias como caficultoras. Más que un café consiste en una serie de cortometrajes autodirigidos, es el resultado de un programa que durante un año de talleres virtuales personalizados, ha ampliado el acceso a la educación artística y tecnológica a mujeres que han enfrentado barreras de acceso. El resultado contribuirá a construir la historia de las mujeres agricultoras, les ofrecerá herramientas para fortalecer sus negocios y fomentará la autoeficacia en un proceso de narración participativo modelado por las personas más calificadas para llevar esta historia al mundo.

A pesar de que el mercado del café se ha expandido exponencialmente, la mayoría de las caficultoras de pequeña escala viven debajo del umbral de pobreza. Al estar excluidas del acceso a la información y las oportunidades de mercado, las agricultoras enfrentan desafíos importantes para mitigar los riesgos del cambio climático y de una economía volátil. Bean Voyage, una ONG costarricense, colabora con Needle + Frame, un colectivo de cine y arte, para brindar capacitación audiovisual y de narración de historias a 5 productoras de café, y así elevar sus voces y cerrar la brecha de datos sobre las mujeres en la agricultura.

Aunque las mujeres representan aproximadamente el 70% de la fuerza laboral en la producción mundial de café, se estima que sólo el 20% de las fincas son dirigidas por mujeres. Las caficultoras se enfrentan a un 40% menos de ingresos en comparación con sus competidores masculinos (Specialty Coffee Association). Las productoras de lotes pequeños luchan para poder competir en un mercado global dominado por unos pocos grandes actores, mientras el costo de producción aumenta y el precio de su producto se mantiene fijo. A medida que el cambio climático continúa causando patrones climatológicos impredecibles, más esfuerzos están siendo dedicados a un rendimiento menor. El conocimiento agrícola tradicional e intergeneracional corre el riesgo de perderse.

Ericka Mora (Café EyF), Maria Jiménez y Arleen Jiménez (Café de Altura – Micro Beneficio La Angostura León Cortés), Tatiana Vargas (Legados Café Artesanal) y Margoth Rivera (Café Aromas de La Legua- ASIPROFE) han estado documentando sus vidas, desafíos y victorias a lo largo del año pasado, y están listas para compartir sus historias con el mundo.

Learning to Film

“This project is different; it is not the first time people come with cameras and record, but this is something very different. It is for the community, very personal.” -Margoth Rivera

People are the experts of their own lives, and we have designed a filmmaking process with this value at the center. At the onset of COVID-19, the production team had a series of conversations with Ericka, Arleen, María, Margoth & Tatiana to understand their lives and ways in which a participatory storytelling process might further support their goals of increasing exposure among consumers and policymakers. The women were equipped with camera and audio kits (consisting of camera, mic, lights), and began a custom virtual training program. Having come to their filmmaking journey with limited prior experience, the group has spent the past year developing themselves as storytellers, filmmakers, directors, and producers.

They are self-directing a 3-5 minute short video that they can use to promote their businesses, advocate for gender-based policy in agriculture, and add honest personal voices to the data about women in the coffee industry.

At the end of this project, we will host a series of screenings within their communities and around the world at local cooperatives, and coffee shops to further the conversation regarding the representation of smallholder women in the coffee industry and agriculture as a whole. It will be intimate, surprising, and honest footage that depicts life as they experience it.

Aprendiendo a Filmar

“Este proyecto es diferente; no es la primera vez que la gente viene con cámaras y graba, pero esto es algo muy diferente. Es para la comunidad, muy personal.” -Margoth Rivera

Cada persona es la mejor fuente para hablar de su propia vida. Es con esta premisa, que hemos diseñado un proceso creativo de producción cinematográfica. Al inicio del COVID-19, tuvimos una serie de conversaciones con Ericka, Arleen, María, Margoth y Tatiana para comprender sus vidas y las formas en que un proceso de narración participativa podría respaldar aún más sus objetivos de aumentar la exposición entre consumidores y legisladores. En base a nuestro intercambio, se inició un programa de capacitación virtual personalizado y se proporcionaron equipos de video y audio (videocámara, micrófonos, iluminación). Habiendo llegado a este viaje cinematográfico con experiencia previa limitada, cada participante ha pasado el último año desarrollándose como narradora, cineasta, directora y productora.

Cada una de ellas está dirigiendo un video corto de 3 a 5 minutos que les será útil para promover sus negocios, abogar por políticas de género en la agricultura y sumar su voz honesta a los datos actuales sobre las mujeres en la industria del café.

Al final de este proyecto, organizaremos una serie de proyecciones dentro de sus comunidades, y en todo el mundo, en cooperativas locales y cafeterías, para promover el diálogo sobre la representación de las productoras de pequeña escala en la industria del café y la agricultura en general. Será un metraje íntimo, sorprendente y honesto retratando la vida tal como la experimentan.

How YOU can Help/ Como Puede Ayudar

Follow/ Seguir: Help us build our audience and unlock benefits from Seed & Spark by following our campaign on Seed & Spark, Facebook, and Instagram.

Pledge & Contribute/ Contribuir: We have to collect 80% of our crowdfunding goal to keep our funds. No pledge is too small. Every dollar makes a difference.

Spread the Word/ Compartir: We need to reach outside our networks to meet our goal and ensure that these films reach a global audience.

Please share our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, however you want! We can’t do this without you!

Example/ Ejemplo por Facebook/ Twitter:

I just watched the trailer for the #MásqueunCafé film project. This is the first story about the women who grow the world’s coffee filmed and directed by them. Join them on @seedandspark https://bit.ly/2XmzSXE

Acabo de ver el tráiler del proyecto #MásqueunCafé. Es la primera historia sobre las mujeres que cultivan el café del mundo filmada y dirigida por ellas. Síguelas en @seedandspark https://bit.ly/2XmzSXE.

All photos and videos courtesy of Bean Voyage.

LEARN more about Bean Voyage here.

SHARE this story with your networks; see menu at top and bottom of page.

DONATE directly to Más que un Café here.

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