College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the media between August 18 - 31, 2015
Rising global demand for coffee hasn’t translated into better economic and environmental conditions for many of the world’s major coffee-growing regions, according to a new paper that questions the fair-practices claims made by some coffee retailers.
While coffee chains tout ecological gains and farmer-friendly policies, the outlook has generally not improved in the past two decades in poorer coffee-growing regions along the equator, University of Kansas researcher Alexander Myers found.
Soaring appetite for coffee beans has pushed more small farmers into “technified” farming practices and exclusive reliance on a single crop — coffee — for their livelihood, Myers said in his paper, presented at last week’s annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. The more intensive methods use up far more water and other resources while making small growers vulnerable to disruptive swings in the market, Myers said.
“It has opened these small producers to a global commodities market that can be very difficult to navigate,” Myers, a doctoral candidate who studies trade and globalization, said in an interview. “It’s feast or famine.”
Traditionally, coffee beans are grown under shade canopies, often created by fruit trees that provide an alternative source of income for farmers while also offering important habitat for migrating birds. In switching to “technified” farming, growers are pressured to rely exclusively on coffee while switching to different kinds of coffee beans that require much more water to grow properly, Myers said.
Myers acknowledged that some retailers have tried to make a difference by buying coffee beans from suppliers that are certified to promote “fair-trade” and environmentally-friendly policies. But in many instances, those beans account for up only a portion of the coffee purchased.
“The companies have put themselves out there as having made a change,” he said. “The extent to which those changes are seen on the ground — that’s a different story.”
Additional media coverage includes:
- A Woodpecker Disguised as . . . Another Woodpecker? - National Audobon Society
- Dedication ceremony for newly renamed Chalmers Hall is Sunday at KU - LJWorld
- Why Black Lives Matter activists are arguing with Hillary Clinton - Christian Science Monitor
- University to welcome new Foundation Professor, Christophe Royon, to department of physics and astronomy - Kansas City Kansan
- Casting call: KU Theatre needs black, Latino actors for two fall plays - LJWorld
- Archaeologists reveal gate of giant Goliath and evidence of war in ancient Israel - Spero News
- Some Women Use Book Clubs as Lover Bait - Discovery News
- Why women join book clubs - Yahoo!
- KU names first finalist for CLAS dean - LJWorld
- KU Today: Honors program awards boost out-of-class experiences - LJWorld
- KU Today: Study indicates Neanderthals weren't as unsophisticated as once thought - LJWorld
- KU Today: Deans share top goals for the upcoming academic year - LJWorld
- Demand for coffee can create ecological, economic rift with poorer nations - Phys.org
- Growing average cup of coffee requires 100 litres of water - Yahoo!
- Demand for coffee can create ecological, economic rift with poorer nations - Science Daily
- 'Coffee boom' not benefiting farmers: Study - The Tribune
- Lightness/darkness of skin affects male immigrants' likelihood of gaining employment - Phys.org
- Book clubs play big role for women in dating - USA Today
- Book clubs play a big role for women in dating - Fox News
- Reading or dating? What actually book clubs are for? - The Times of India
- Trying to find a woman to date? Join a book club, says University of Kansas study - The Pitch
- Exercise Best Bet Against Diabetes for College Graduates - US News and World Report
- Art and Design building renamed for former chancellor E. Laurence Chalmers - Newton Kansan
- KU names second finalist for CLAS dean - LJWorld
- KU archaeologist shares 'helplessness' felt by scholars after temple destruction by Islamic State group - LJWorld
- Second candidate for dean of KU liberal arts proposes rethinking revenue - LJWorld
- Red Hot Research: "Water, Energy, Climate" - LJWorld
- Research reveals American women in book clubs have more confidence in the dating field - LJWorld
- Many Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws. Will It Matter? - Huffington Post
- Saturday Column: KU and city need to hire the best and brightest – LJWorld