Broadcast Coffee out of Seattle plans to promote gender equity and prevent sexual violence not just in its stores, but by committing to buy from suppliers who practice the same.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo by Jennifer Chong
Broadcast Coffee, a wholesale roaster with three retail locations in Seattle, has made a radical pledge to support gender equity and prevent sexual violence in whatever way they can in a plan they call Safe for All. Barry Faught, Broadcast’s founder and roaster, says he was inspired by the wave of news that has come to light over the last few months regarding sexual assault and discrimination in the workplace, particularly in the coffee industry. “Issues of sexual harassment have always been around,” he says. “Once the Four Barrel thing hit, I just never thought those types of activities would come to our community … so I thought, if this is happening at Four Barrel, it could be happening in Seattle and anywhere. I had to open my eyes and realize that this is a thing that happens.”
Barry plans on putting into place an anti-harassment policy (with help from barista Molly Flynn, founder of the #coffeetoo project, who also works at Broadcast Coffee), but he wanted Safe for All to take things a step further by ensuring that all his purveyors were also working to end sexual violence. “People have to vet the companies they choose—how do you know when you switch from one roaster to another you aren’t just working with a similar group again?” he asks.
Along with ensuring that his local vendors are on the same page, Barry also plans to only buy coffee from farmers and importers working toward the same goal. “I was listening to a story on NPR about female farmers, and a study showed that 60 percent of American women on farms experience sexual harassment. If this is happening here, it must be happening on coffee farms, too,” he says. Safe for All is ambitious and grand, yet also novel and new. “I proposed this idea to one of our importers, and they had never thought about this as a policy, but they’re totally on board. … Yes, this is going to be hard, but if we can do something, then we should. It’s worth the endeavor if it helps people on farms.”
Broadcast has built itself as a company that gives back, so their commitment to ending harassment stems naturally from their business model. “We’ve always donated to local organizations since day one. We happen to be in a neighborhood that has a ton of great organizations doing selfless things,” Barry says. Broadcast has supported both small, local organizations close to their retail locations, and big groups like Lambda Legal and the ACLU. Safe for All is a continuation of their dedication to improving the community and the lives of those that coffee affects. “Our whole business model is that we’re a company who’s kind. We like to engage our community, and the people who work here are people we care about,” he says.
Right now, Barry and the Broadcast team are still figuring out what Safe for All looks like. “Our coffee lineup might change—and we’re going to have to rely on our importing partners to help make sure this happens,” he says. But he hopes to have folks at origin countries soon, working with importers and providing tools to ensure that gender equity is practiced on farms. “We’re hoping to send folks to farms to educate—not sure exactly what this looks like now,” he says. For now, you can support Broadcast and learn more about the coffees they serve and the causes they support by visiting one of their stores or checking out their website.