A freshly opened cocoa pod from Liborio's farm

New cocoa standards mean better taste and better lives

If you love coffee or chocolate, I bet you know exactly what you look for in these products. Maybe you drink dark roast coffee because of its full body and strong caffeine jolt, or maybe you prefer 60% cacao chocolate because of its slight bitterness. Throughout my life, career, and especially in my time as Lutheran [...]Read More...

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War, Peace and Coffee

Curt Reintsma, Food Security Partnerships Specialist for the US Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Food Security, recently wrote a blog post on Agrilinks entitled Coffee – The “Peace Crop”? In it, he highlighted coffee’s unique role in reconstruction and reconcilliation in countries devastated by conflict. He concludes the post by posing the following questions: What is it about coffee [...]Read More...

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Myron Burkholder, LWR’s deputy regional director for Latin America, stands atop cacao fermentation boxes

The Unexpected Bumps in the Road on a Visit to Haiti

One of the things I’ve learned over the years in my many visits to coffee and cocoa farmers in Central America is that even with meticulous planning and preparation, your daily schedule will soon go out of whack. Sometimes it’s the weather. Or it could be a broken-down vehicle. In the case of my recent [...]Read More...

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Why Coffee and Cocoa Farmers Face Similar Predicament – and Promise

This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of CoffeeTalk magazine. Just over a year ago, I left Keurig Green Mountain after almost 27 years, and weeks later accepted a new role with Lutheran World Relief where, in my role as Senior Relationship Manager, Coffee & Cocoa, I continue to work with coffee farmers [...]Read More...

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Why Growing More Isn’t Enough for Cacao Farmers Living in Poverty

I recently visited Western Uganda, as part of the process of designing a project to help farmers improve their production of cacao, as well as family food security. (Wondering the difference between “cacao” and “cocoa”? This article explains it well.) We often get to hear about how our work – and your support – makes [...]Read More...

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