Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Quality & Justice

Equal Exchange Action Forum is the consumer-organizing arm of the West Bridgewater-based company that is best known for its leadership in fair-trade coffee. Danielle Robidoux is one of the coordinators of the Action Forum, and a former student of mine. This message is from Danielle to the Action Forum network (and anybody interested in this work). The event is free, but pre-registration is required. 
During this uncertain time and as in-person gatherings are still at a standstill we are going to continue to create virtual spaces for us to gather and learn together. Please join us for this upcoming virtual event!
(click the link above to RSVP)
What does coffee quality mean to Equal Exchange? What is the importance of coffee quality to our producer partners? How has quality evolved over the years? Join Mike Mowry, Coffee Quality Coordinator at Equal Exchange, and James Hayes-Bohanan, citizen-consumer member, teacher, and coffee geographer for a discussion on coffee quality. 
Bridgewater State students at the world's first farmer-owned cupping lab.

Saturday, April 25, 2020


On Monday evening, April 27, we held an online event sponsored by Bridgewater One Book One Community, BSU Senior College, and the BSU Department of Geography. This was a Zoom event; a recording is at the end of this post.

The repela process at Mil Flores, my home-away-from-home in the community of La Corona.
From the Facebook Event page for this presentation.
See my review
The event is an online version of a public lecture that was originally scheduled as part of the community-wide read of Thanks a Thousand by A.J. Jacobs.

I will describe my own journey, beginning in our Bridgewater kitchen and ending in coffee farms in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and beyond. Skipping over a few steps in the commodity chain, this presentation will begin with our daily coffee ritual and will then focus on the farmers to whom those rituals are connected.

You do not need to have read this book to attend this presentation, but it is a quick read (even by my slow-reader standards) and readily available online for those who wish to peruse it.

View my slides to revisit any part of the presentation and to follow links for further exploration. A video of this presentation will be available after the event.

May 6 Tasting Event: Please visit the GEOG298 blog for student presentations; please visit early to choose one or more coffees to order so that you can enhance the experience with remote tasting.

Summer note: If you wish to learn more about coffee from the comfort of your home, please consider Coffee Week. We will be offering this 3-credit summer class June 15-19; it is open to BSU and non-BSU students alike, for undergraduate or graduate credit.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Chiapas Connections

March 8, 2011 Women's March in Chiapas
Image: S¡Paz
One of my former students found herself at the most recent women's march in Chiapas, an annual event described in a 2011 article on S¡Paz, from Servicio Internacional para la Paz. Her invitation to join her in an online presentation about her trip led me to review some of my earlier posts about this most pivotal corner of Latin America.

more to come ...

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Home Cooking

Cod Almondine, June 2019
As people around the world are spending more time than ever at home, my favorite librarian and I are doing even more of what we always do: cooking for ourselves. And we notice that many other people are doing the same.

We have been sharing links to our cooking blog more than usual (and adding to it more regularly) since stay-at-home began in earnest. I am adding a link here, so that it will be easier for people to find who might not have the direct link. Our Nueva Receta Cada Semana blog is named for the ambition (more or less met over the years) to post one new recipe each week.

We now have over 600 cooking stories on the blog, most of them with sufficient information to be replicated, and with plenty of ideas about substituting ingredients according to availability. The blog is searchable (as all Blogger-based blogs are) by a keyword finder at the top-left and -- because this was started by a librarian -- subject terms on the right side of the screen that include words like vegetarian and easy.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Coffee, Chocolate, and Geographies of Resilience

I am very pleased to have been invited to discuss Coffee, Chocolate, and Geographies of Resilience on this Whistlepig Day -- 02/02/2020 @ 02:02:02 in the afternoon at the Vineyard Haven Public Library. I am even more delighted that the invitation came at the request of a BSU graduate who long ago took my Secret Life of Coffee Course.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fogo, Política, Bife, y Soja

Fire, Politics, Beef, and Soy: The North Looks Amazônia Again is the title of my presentation at the Second International Seminar on Literature and Linguistics. I was very honored to be invited to speak to this gathering of scholars at UNIR, the Federal University of Rondônia in the western Amazon region of Brazil.

It was at this campus and in surrounding communities that I conducted three months of dissertation research in 1996, and to which I returned for smaller projects in 2000 and 2003.

(The Google Slides presentation is full of links to examples of discourse on the Amazon. Click everything!)