ESG(s): Social, economic, environmental
Origin/locations: Costa Rica, all coffee producing regions
Timeline: 2020 ongoing
Partner orgs: Falcon, Bean Voyage
People: 120 farmers
Gender: 100% female
Established in 2014 by Sunghee Tark and Abhinav Khanal , Bean Voyage is a feminist, non-profit enterprise whose mission is to eradicate the gender pay gap in farming communities across all 8 coffee growing regions of Costa Rica. They aim to do this by providing improved access to education, markets, political engagement and health and well being for smallholder women coffee farmers. Their goal is to dissolve the historical gender gap in 2500 communites across Costa Rica and eventually support 100, 000 women and thier families globally, by 2030. Falcon began working with Bean Voyage in 2020 through a desire to raise awareness around female empowerment in coffee growing communities. Falcon participates and supports Bean Voyasge by purchasing the coffees and showcasing the work of female producers. In addition, Falcon contributes to achieving the goals of the initiatives by finding more premium markets for sustainably produced and fairly priced microlots. Bean Voyage currently work with a cohort of 120 smallholder women farmers.
Bean Voyage has created women-only discussion groups to provide safe spaces through which farmers can create communities and build confidence through shared ideas and experiences. They also provide regular in-person and online training which aims to support and track the progress of their farmers’ education. Included in their curriculum is a large focus on environmental awareness, conservation, and the preservation of biodiversity. This is in keeping with the important cultural philosophy of good ecological governance in Costa Rica, ensuring engagement with the risks of climate change. Each farmer Bean Voyage works with receives a minimum of 80 hours of training on 5 modules – farm finance, production, processing, quality analysis and gender/community.
Falcon provides additional support by participating in the education programme, giving the farmers the opportunity to engage with and discuss how importers, as well as roasters, can collaborate with them.
The women-only spaces set up by Bean Voyage now successfully operates in all coffee producing regions of Costa Rica. Since partnering with Bean Voyage, smallholder farming families have
reported a 300% increase in income from farm related activities due to uplift in quality as well the access provided to better markets and strengthened supply chains.
In 2021 Bean Voyage developed the very first gender policy in coffee in Costa Rica to be implemented in 2022 by the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica (ICAFE) in partnership with Triptico.
Additionally, 200+ smallholder women coffee producers benefited from education adapting their agricultural practice to the impacts of climate change. This included an introduction to the effects of climate change on coffee, soil, water and crop management and the benefits of crop diversification.
Their 2021 projects included the Food Security Initiative in collaboration with The Starbucks Foundation and ICAFE, a project that aims to support smallholder women farmers in Costa Rica by alleviating issues around food security in their families. With the help of 47 small grants of just over $300 each, the project provides monthly food baskets, access to training on productive farming practice as well as education around business management for each participant. The goal is to equip these farmers with the skills to diversify their farm produce and secure their access to food and income throughout the year. The project concludes with each farmer receiving a stipend of $150 to implement the initiative at farm level. In total this impacted over 100 farming families, 480 individuals and supplied 2,400kg of food relief.
Planned to take place in the summer of 2022 with 50 farmers and 30 buyers, Bean Voyage are hosting the first edition of the Womxn-Powered Coffee Summit, which will connect women coffee farmers in their network to a wide range of global market partners. Based on the events hosted by Bean Voyage at 2021’s Manchester Coffee Festival this meeting promises to be an inspiring and inclusive event.