HRNS is an exclusive implementing partner for International Coffee Partners (ICP), so sometimes we in headquarters, get the opportunity to travel to origin to visit with farmers, partners, and all the key players of the region. When the chance arose to travel to Brazil we immediately started planning with our local team the itinerary.

This time around, however, we wanted to spend as much time as possible visiting with the families who grow our coffee, the families we work with every day, the families who just want to benefit from a level playing field that leads them to an improved way of life for them and their families. With that in mind, we wanted to give you some impressions from this trip. There are far too many stories to mention here in this post but these stories will be told and given the platform they deserve.

If we had to choose one word to describe this trip it would be “emotional”. From the time we spent at Casa da Criança which works with at-risk youth in the region and gives them a fighting chance in life; to the story of José, a first generation coffee farmer who lost his job as a driver because he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. These stories were not only emotional to listen to but we also felt a sense of joy in the fact that the work we are doing has helped these families even if in the slightest way. Their strength and determination through life’s hardships shines through their big smiles, open hearts, and welcoming attitude.

A common thread through several of the families we met was the amount of loss they experienced. Not of material or monetary, but of life. We met up with Simone from Amecafé an all-female farmer organization, who has overcome a personal hardship. As a strong female leader, she has turned her pain and grief into producing the best coffee she can and speaking about the importance of Amecafé. Another story that touched us was that of Daniella, her father Antonio was a well-known figure in the coffee farming world and within our foundations family. He had won several Força Café Coffee Championships and was an enthusiastic participant in our projects. However, just a short time ago he passed away and Daniella spoke of that loss and how she made it her life’s mission to continue her fathers legacy.

It’s difficult sometimes to look back and reflect on what we have experienced when we have to reduce it to a few words and maybe a few pictures, but that is why each and every story is important and why we will tell every single one. Over the next weeks and months, we will share these stories across all our platforms, (HRNS, ICP, and coffee&climate), with the hope that these stories shine a light on the importance of ensuring the families who grow our coffee have the same opportunities we do.

We end this post now with just some of the images from the trip.

To Adapt to Climate Change, Coffee Farmers Need Bold Allies

The saw makes a grinding sound as Albert, a young Ugandan agronomist, maneuvers it back and forth slowly, cutting through the trunk of the coffee tree. His colleague Ambrose stands next to him, bracing the tree and readying himself to carefully lower it to the ground...

HRNS Tanzania Team Reach New Heights – Literally!

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) Tanzania has been a tight-knit team from the very beginning. This may be ascribable to the great working environment and foundation that has been laid by our management over time. Besides the beautiful location and peaceful...

COVID-19: How HRNS informs coffee communities and remains committed during this crisis

At Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) we feel a strong responsibility in the current COVID-19 pandemic for both our beneficiaries and our staff. Smallholder coffee farmer families are specifically vulnerable in this situation. They lack access to information,...

The Fallacies of “Youth”: Finding New Solutions for Young People in Coffee Growing Communities – 25 Magazine, Issue 11

This Blogpost was originally published in SCA 25  The youngest generation is now the largest generation on earth, but the average age of coffee farmers continues to increase. JOANNA FURGIUELE asks: Do we really understand why young people are leaving coffee, or are we...

Responding to COVID-19 in Central America: 3 underlying areas

It’s been more than 100 days under quarantine and strict mobility restrictions. As many European countries start to lift coronavirus containment measures, cases are just starting to reach the highest peak in Central America. Health systems are vulnerable, and...

Supporting Smallholder Families to Prosper

A core element of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung’s (HRNS) activities is working towards improved livelihood prospects for rural smallholder farming families. With a holistic approach, HRNS looks at rural farming systems and landscapes focusing on coffee growing regions....

Resolutions for Myself, and for the Coffee Sustainability Sector

I’ve always been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They’re a great way to reflect, learn, and get a little bit closer to the person I want to be.This year, I’m thinking even more about my resolutions because it’s not just the calendar that’s changing, it’s...

Augmenting trainings for smallholders: from Field Schools to Coaching Visits

As school knowledge is tested by exams, the efficiency of farmer trainings is evaluated by adoption rates. A training is considered successful not when a large number of people attend it, but when farmers start practically applying the techniques they’ve...

Exploiting the role of Communication for Development during COVID-19

Two important elements in the work of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) are proximity and collaboration. Proximity to farmer communities came to a sudden stop due to the Coronavirus pandemic and collaboration with partners (which usually also takes place with...

Destruction and uncertainty hit smallholder communities in Honduras and Guatemala after Hurricane Eta

“On Wednesday evening, strong water streams coming from the flooded river of Higuito destroyed parts of my house and farm”, explains Francisco Monroy, a smallholder coffee farmer from Ocotepeque, Honduras. “Our harvest was ready in two weeks", he says, while standing...