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The premiere of “After the Harvest” last week at the SCAA Symposium and exposition ended up generating quite the buzz. During hallway chats and coffee breaks, and there were many, it was clear that the documentary woke some folks up to the very real issue of seasonal hunger and poverty in the coffeelands.

In a moderated breakout session following the film, conference attendees from across the coffee spectrum gathered together for a deeper discussion of the problems of food insecurity in sourcing areas. Roasters, importers and coffee companies large and small joined with nonprofits and farmers for a casual and enlightening exchange of thoughts and ideas. Rick Peyser from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters related how the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) study revealing the scope & severity of “the thin months” inspired the company to refocus their social responsibility efforts to directly address this issue. Among their peers in the industry, GMCR has taken the lead in bringing awareness to the problem and is working to rally actors from all links in the coffee chain to participate in solutions.

It was clear that despite experience and familiarity with the coffee industry, many see this information as newsworthy and surprising. So much of our work at Heifer is based on this issues of food security so we welcome the discussions and the willingness to get involved. We were inspired by the genuine interest of those in the room in Heifer’s work, as well as that of other nonprofits & development organizations like CRS and Coffee Kids. “After the Harvest” was a success and well received. It made impressions, changed perceptions and motivated action.

We made a lot of new friends at SCAA, and the awareness generated by the film planted the seeds for new partnerships in support of our work. You can see the short version of “After the Harvest”, written and produced by our new friend Brian Kimmel. Stay tuned to for information on when and here the film will be shown.


Allison Stephens

Allison began working for Heifer International in 2011 in Public Relations and is also a Public Affairs Officer in the Air Force Reserve. She graduated from Penn State University with a degree in communications. She is married, mother to baby "E" and proud bonus mother to a 13 year-old daughter.