Black Gold screening & discussion to benefit Ethiopia

Ever wonder who grows the beans in your morning jolt of java? On Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm, CRS Community Films invites you to screen and discuss BLACK GOLD (78' in English with Japanese subtitles). In their riveting, critically acclaimed documentary, filmmaking brothers Nick and Marc Francis explore the complexities of the international coffee trade everywhere.

Joining us will be Emily Piper (MA in Food Studies) and staff from our neighbors Think Coffee to discuss their own efforts to improve the lives of coffee farmers in Ethiopia. They will be accepting donations in support of the Eleshu Kellensoo Mokonissa Primary School Library in Kellensoo, Ethiopia funded by Think Coffee and its partners Nardos Exports & The Bushwick Seed Company.

The screening is FREE but there is a suggested donation of $10. Seating is limited and first come, first serve.

In conjunction with the screening, the CRS Gallery will be exhibiting THINKING FORWARD: photographs of people showing love for and trying to improve the lives of the next generation, taken in Kallensoo, Ethiopia by members of the Think Coffee community and in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Tufts University student Misako Ono. Proceeds from the sale of the photographs will also go to support the Eleshu Kellensoo Mokonissa Primary School Library in Ethiopia.

There will be an Opening Reception from 6 – 7:30 pm on 8/3 prior to the screening. Join us for a glass of wine and a chance to speak informally with the photographers about their experiences with these wonderful projects.

Multinational coffee companies now rule our strip malls, supermarkets and urban corners and dominate an industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil. But while we pay high prices for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their fields. No where is this paradox more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee.

More About the Film Black Gold

In this movie, we meet Tadesse Meskela, General Manager of the Oromo Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, and a man on a mission to save his 75,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price.

The challenges are complex and fair trade certifications and more favorable prices alone are insufficient to solve them. Learn from coffee buyers like those at Think Coffee who actually visit the farmers regularly and learn on the ground how we can create change that will actually improve people's lives all along the chain of production.

Black Gold Trailer
http://www.crsny.org/blog/2749

More About the Bushwick Seed Company's Project to Benefit Kellensoo

At the Bushwick Seed Company, we believe in forming strong relationships with the coffee communities we work with. That means that we pay a fair price for our coffee and that means that we always travel to origin. Sometimes we go beyond that.

The people of Kellensoo are the first group of coffee farmers we ever sourced from. We wanted to collaborate with them on a community development project to help improve the life of the villagers.

Project Kellensoo is the result of that collaboration. After going to the village and listening to the concerns of parents, administrators and elders we pinpointed high drop out rates as the main area of intervention.

Project Partners

Project Kellensoo is the joint venture of three companies: coffee importer The Bushwick Seed Company, Nardos Coffee Exports and Think Coffee.

Nardos Coffee Exports is an Ethiopian coffee exporter whose founder is from the village of Kellensoo.

The Bushwick Seed Company imports coffee beans from trees they have touched and from people they know personally. They physically follow and record all of their coffee, from the farms to the ships that deliver it, and operate in as transparent and ethical manner as possible for the benefit of the coffee growers and the planet.

Think Coffee is a New York-based coffee company that has bought coffee from the Kellensoo region in the past. For the past several years, Think Coffee has been an outstanding neighbor to CRS, contributing to the cost of our renovation in 2010 and never failing to act in a thoughtful and neighborly fashion. We are delighted to have this opportunity to collaborate with them on a project dear to their hearts and ours.

Project Summary

Project Kellensoo is a three-phase mission to decrease school drop-out rates in the village of Kellensoo in Southern Ethiopia.

Phase one consists of the equipping of a library for the students of Kellensoo. Project funds will purchase tables, chairs, books, bookshelves, pens and paper to begin the supply of the library. The building will then be weatherized to ensure against any damage from the elements. Finally, solar panels will be installed on the roof to maintain a reliable supply of power throughout the day and into the night.

Phase two involves the creation of an IT center in the library. Project funds will be used to purchase seven computers from the United States. These computers will be shipped to Kellensoo and installed in the library. Wireless connection will be established and the students will be able to make use of the computers to communicate all over the world.

Phase three will address the disparity between male and female drop out rates at the school. A leading reason for female absences is an inadequate supply of feminine hygiene products. During their period, girls have to miss school. The resulting absence is often to difficult or discouraging to make up. The project seeks to secure a reliable and sustainable supply of feminine hygiene products for the girls of Kellensoo Junior School.

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  • caroline

    Great documentary on the $80 billion coffee trade and why buying fair trade coffee matters.

    1 · August 3, 2013

  • Nemo2

    would love to learn more

    August 3, 2013

    • Christopher P.

      Great! You can learn more about the film Black Gold and the Fair Trade movement at
      http://blackgoldmovie...­

      And you can learn more about Think Coffee's own endeavors to strengthen their relationships with their growers and to go beyond Fair Trade to further improve the economic situation of their growers on their blog:
      http://thinkcoffee.co...­

      August 3, 2013

    • Christopher P.

      The number one action you can take yourself is to ask your coffee providers where specifically their coffee beans comes from, how they were grown, and what sorts of financial arrangements brought the beans from the growers to your cup.

      1 · August 3, 2013

  • Michelle Q.

    Great event Caroline, I met the founders of Think Coffee--who are big supporters of Ethiopian coffee suppliers. They are really inspiring to talk to talk as they are sponsoring the event and they own the coffee shop downstairs.

    4 · August 3, 2013

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