Last year was extremely trying in so many ways. The coffee community was particularly impacted both domestically and internationally. As cafes were shuttered and slowed, the flow of high quality specialty coffee dropped dramatically in favor of the commodity coffee roasted for mass market brands sold in grocery stores. Many of the connections that we built between our customers and coffee farmers were severed along with the cafes that serve as points of introduction.
We are fortunate to be part of a population with robust access to vaccines and healthcare, as well as government programs to supplement individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic. Coffee producers do not have access to these resources, and the pandemic further limited the already sparse healthcare services available to women in coffee producing communities.
That said, we at Black Oak Coffee are happy to have been able to sell premium coffee produced by superb female coffee farmers throughout the year, thereby enabling us to renew our financial support for Grounds For Health as they continue to provide vital health services to under-served women.
Our donation, fueled entirely by your decisions to purchase these coffees, supported just under 10,000 cervical cancer screenings and just under 1,000 treatments of cancerous and precancerous lesions in 2020. Each treatment represents a sister, daughter, or mother, who will be able to spend more cancer free, quality time with their loved ones.
While the direct giveback is of great importance, the simple act of purchasing the Female Farmer coffee lots does enormous work in creating stable communities while bridging the gendered power disparity that can be all too prevalent in coffee producing areas.
One of the lots that our team was particularly partial to was the Café de Mujer, which was produced by the female members of a Peruvian coffee collective. We believe that that coffee exemplified how strong communities, in conjunction with outside support, can produce superior coffee while supporting the communities responsible for its production.
We are happy to see more and more female farmers creating collectives and integrating those collectives with coffee importers and exporters. By supporting these farmers, we are empowering the transition of property ownership and management to the women who compose around 80% of the coffee workforce, but control only ~20% of coffee farms, and own only a fraction of coffee producing lands.
While the issues of gender inequality in coffee producing nations are incredibly complex, as they are also domestically, we are happy to continue to offer a line of products aimed at bettering the lives of the women who make coffee as we know and love it, possible.