Bean Voyage Aims to Conquer Food Security Via New Grant

The Starbucks Foundation’s financial assistance will help Bean Voyage provide food security workshops and more.

BY SAMANTHA TAMPLIN
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of Bean Voyage

Bean Voyage is a feminist nonprofit social enterprise that works with women coffee producers to eradicate the gender gap in farming communities. 

In 2020, Bean Voyage surveyed their producer partners to find out just how widespread food insecurity was within their own networks. Out of the 67 families surveyed, they reported that 39% were facing this issue. And so, in August, Bean Voyage received a grant from the Starbucks Foundation to help relieve chronic food insecurity.

The Bean Voyage grant will help producer groups expand programs that relieve food insecurity.

Securing Food During COVID-19

In an Instagram post, Bean Voyage said that the pandemic has highlighted the severity of food insecurity in farmland communities. Unfortunately, as Bean Voyage called it the “hunger paradox,” food growers can be some of the hungriest people—and the effects of COVID-19 have only intensified that situation for many. This grant will go a long way to help women coffee producers in Costa Rica by providing enough food baskets to feed 100 smallholder farmers and their families for six months.

How Bean Voyage Makes a Difference

Sunghee Tark is the co-founder and CEO of Bean Voyage, along with executive director Abhinav Khanal. SungHee said they help women focus on four areas that impede their advancement in business: access to education, market, feminist leadership and policy, and health and well-being support.

Sunghee also said that the Care Support Program they piloted to provide the food baskets works closely with the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica (ICAFE) to provide other support. This includes a call center during the harvest season to combat a labor shortage that was brought on by the pandemic.

“As we looked to scale the project, we were contacted by ICAFE and the Starbucks Foundation for the potential funding opportunity, and we applied and received the grant,” explains Sunghee.

A graduation presentation. From left: Ana Lorena, Luz Marina, and Maria Fernanda Carrillo.

On Expanding Relief

Additionally, Sunghee said the project will provide food security and farm diversification workshops for farmers. In addition to this, they will be awarding adaptation grants for small-scale projects to improve food security in rural communities at both a business and a household level. These projects could be anything from growing a home garden to beekeeping.

Over the next six months, the Care Support Program and Bean Voyage plan to recruit the 100 smallholder farmers in vulnerable areas through informational webinars, surveys, and other efforts from ICAFE. Five workshops will be provided over the next few months for farmers to learn different tested and proven models regarding food security from technical advisors and other experts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samantha Tamplin (she/her) is a recent graduate from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.A. in journalism. She spent her time in college writing and editing for the university newspaper, the Eastern Progress, and traveling abroad with the EKU Honors Program. Currently, she works as a barista for Cincinnati’s Coffee Emporium.

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