Posts Tagged ‘rural farming’

Solving Two Issues at Once: FarmVetCo

I love symbiosis. In nature, in life, in friendships, and in this project.

Two issues blended together in a mutually beneficial way is what FarmVetCo (Farmer Veteran Coalition) is all about. The organization connects veterans to agricultural training programs and resources for beginning farmer operations, as well as small grants to move a farm business forward or launch a new one. It is a terrific way to enlist the help of veterans in stimulating a green economy while increasing our healthy food supply and stimulating rural communities while they’re at it. The farm industry (aging and in critical need of young farmers—the average age for US farmers is 57 years old) is no stranger to hard times, and the veteran community (returning from war to high unemployment rates and difficulty finding viable career opportunities, regardless of what the Army recruiting commercials tell us) knows hardship all too well, so the partnership of strengths makes a lot of sense. FarmVetCo raises awareness; provides career development; helps find living wage jobs in the farming industry; holds two-day education retreats; mentors new farm professionals; provides a fellowship fund for purchase of seeds, fertilizer, irrigation equipment, fame machinery, and breeding stock of animals; trains and supports farm groups; helps farmer veterans with war-related injuries; and advocates on behalf of these blended communities. Find out more about these great programs, and consider supporting FarmVetCo.

Coffee Kids=Grounds for Hope

Photo: Coffee Kids

I drink more than my fair share of coffee. I know what I want and I’m not afraid of the scorn of my fellow customers nor the barista when I ask for my very specific order. I don’t crow about it or demand certain temperatures or anything too over the top, but if you drink essentially the same thing every morning for ages, you kind of plan on consistency.

Because it is often in the community conversations online and elsewhere, I grow ever more aware of things like free trade and shade grown and why they matter. Because my cup o’ Joe matters to me, a new (to me) organization that cares for coffee-growing families also matters to me. Coffee Kids works with local, community organizations in Latin America to improve programs in education, health awareness, micro-credit, food security, and capacity building. More than 125 million people around the world depend on the coffee harvest for their income. This is a nice grassroots effort putting the decision making in the farming community (instead of dropping in and telling a certain population what they need–a danger of many international organizations). The main job of Coffee Kids is to provide technical resources and support, training, and follow-through for the locals, based on the community’s needs and priorities. Since every coffee farming community is unique, every project has a unique focus–it is nice to see an organization serving many populations while rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach. There are four main categories of projects: Health Awareness and natural medicines (including pre- and post-natal care), Education (from learning materials to school building maintenance and even scholarships for higher education), Micro-Credit (more than 4,000 women are now running their own businesses through this initiative), and Capacity Building (bringing technical expertise into a region).

Photo: Coffee Kids

There are ways for you to help and get involved, in every day circumstances as well as in disaster relief situations, when Coffee Kids and their partners take the lead in these rural communities. Jump in–your cappuccino is worth a little give-back, doncha think?