Jonathan Levine 00:26 Fifteen years ago, a young man Brunei Email List named Rob traveled to Nicaragua on a cultural exchange program and met a couple of coffee farmers named Marlon and Mayra. They invited him in. Rob Terenzi 00:36 And they started roasting coffee on this big open fire in their kitchen. And the aromas of the coffee roasting started filling the kitchen, and the crack of the beans went from green to roasted and finished. We drink the coffee right after Brunei Email List they roasted it. It was so wonderful. It’s really, really incredible coffee, you know, organic Fairtrade, raised from heirloom varietals, just beautiful coffee. And I was like, wow, you know, this coffee is incredible. How much do you get paid for this? Because I had come from Boston. Brunei Email List You know, we were paying $15 to $18 a pound for coffee.
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And Mayra said they usually get about 65 to 70 cents a pound. Brunei Email List I was just completely blown away by that. That comes out to like a penny a cup. So, you know, I kind of started digging in and asking them where does the rest of this money go? Jonathan Levine 01:30 He began investigating and found the supply chain was stuffed with middlemen, brokers, importers, exporters. Everyone taking their cut. The biggest cut goes to the roasters. Rob Terenzi 01:42 So we kind Brunei Email List of had this thought that, what if you guys roast the coffee? I mean, you’re doing it right now. Jonathan Levine 01:52 From the Stanford Social Innovation Review at Stanford University, this is Uncharted Ground, stories about the people at the forefront of global development and Brunei Email List their journeys in social innovation. I’m Jonathan Levine.
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Today’s episode is about a little company that tackled a really big Brunei Email List problem: a global trading system that allows poor farmers to produce valuable crops, and everyone but them to profit Rob Terenzi 02:20 And it’s broken. I mean, farmers are not going to keep farming if they can’t make a living doing so. Jonathan Levine 02:27 Today, Rob Terenzi is co-founder Brunei Email List and CEO of Vega Coffee. Rob Terenzi 02:33 At Vega Coffee, our mission is to reinvent the coffee supply chain by putting farmers in charge of coffee roasting, coffee processing. And what we found is that giving them this kind of market access, they end up earning about four times more than they would through typical export channels. Jonathan Levine 02:49 If Vega’s more equitable model Brunei Email List catches on, coffee farmers around the world may one day be compensated for the true value of their labor, and have a chance to not only survive, but thrive.