The nonprofit organization becomes one of several groups working on environmentally sustainable projects to receive a grant through Rick Steves’ Europe’s Climate Smart Commitment initiative.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Rick Steves’ Europe
The nonprofit organization Food 4 Farmers has received a $50,000 grant from the travel company Rick Steves’ Europe to fund its continuing efforts to build long-term, sustainable solutions for coffee farmers to feed their families.
Rick Steves’ Europe is an American travel company that explores the continent’s various marvels through a documentary series, travel articles, and tours; however, as a host to nearly 30,000 people a year through these tours, they recognize the global impact that they make as a large business on climate change. According to Rick Steves on his website, “A round-trip flight to Europe emits roughly as much climate-changing carbon, per passenger, as six months of driving.” Rather than purchase carbon offsets, as many big businesses do, the company has started what they call a “self-imposed carbon tax” on themselves by improving the lives of those hit hardest by climate change: the developing world.
Through its Climate Smart Commitment, Rick Steves’ Europe will donate $1 million a year starting in 2019 to several projects that are working toward environmental causes like climate-smart agriculture, agroforestry, and conservation in developing countries. The money doesn’t come out of the pockets of tour attendees (tour prices will not increase), but rather the company’s own profits. “We don’t see this program as particularly heroic … it’s simply ethical,” says Rick on the website. “We believe every business should bear the cost to the environment of their activities. (And until our government requires that, we’ll do it voluntarily.) We hope this program will inspire everyone who buys or sells tours to travel with the same environmental ethic. This way, long after we’re gone, our children will be able to enjoy the same happy travels we have.”
So far this year, Rick Steves’ Europe has given this $1 million to 11 different companies, and Food 4 Farmers received $50,000 of this share. According to Rick Steves Europe, they decided to donate to Food 4 Farmers because of its agro-ecological approach to diversifying the income of coffee farmers. “Many small-scale coffee-farming families in Latin America—along with millions of others—live below the Global Poverty Line on less than $2 per person, per day,” the Climate Smart portfolio states. “This is largely due to their dependence on a single commodity crop and a lack of other opportunities to improve their livelihoods. Now, after decades of monoculture and chemical-dependent practices degrading their land and water, it’s estimated that half of the world’s coffee regions will be unable to produce the crop by 2050.” To see the full list of organizations that have received grants, you can read the portfolio here.
Food 4 Farmers teaches coffee producers a variety of agroforestry methods to sustaining their livelihoods, including beekeeping, taking part in farmers markets, and making organic composts. They also make a conscious effort to improve the well-being of women and youths in these communities through education on behavioral change, healthier diets, and climate-smart farming practices. To support these projects and their “transFARMING” campaign, you can donate as well.
“We’re happy to receive this generous support for our work with coffee-farming families,” said Janice Nadworny, co-director of Food 4 Farmers. “The increasing impacts of climate change, coupled with rising food costs and devastatingly low coffee prices, make food security a more critical need than ever.”
Rick Steves’ Europe will continue to donate every year to the Climate Smart Commitment, and will reassess its portfolio each time. To submit a proposal for the following year of donations, you can visit here to check out the qualifications. Applications will reopen in February 2020.