Action Research Books

Social Justice, Environment and Livability books from MIT Press

Confronting the Coffee Crisis

Confronting the Coffee Crisis:
Fair Trade, Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems in Mexico and Central America

Edited by Christopher M. Bacon, V. Ernesto Méndez, Stephen R. Gliessman, David Goodman and Jonathan A. Fox

February 2008, MIT Press

Our morning cups of coffee connect us to a global industry and an export crisis in the tropics that is destroying livelihoods, undermining the cohesion of families and communities, and threatening ecosystems. Confronting the Coffee Crisis explores small-scale farming, the political economy of the global coffee industry, and initiatives that claim to promote more sustainable rural development in coffee-producing communities. Contributors review the historical, political, economic, and agroecological processes within today’s coffee industry and analyze the severely depressed export market that faces small-scale growers in Mexico and Central America.

The book presents a series of interdisciplinary, empirically rich case studies showing how small-scale farmers manage ecosystems and organize collectively as they seek useful collaborations with international NGOs and coffee companies to create opportunities for themselves in the coffee market. The findings demonstrate the interconnections among farmer livelihoods, biodiversity, conservation, and changing coffee markets. Additional chapters examine alternative trade practices, certification, and eco-labeling, discussing the politics and market growth of organic, shade-grown, and Fair Trade coffees. Combining interdisciplinary research with case-study analysis at scales ranging from the local to the global, Confronting the Coffee Crisis reveals the promise and the perils of efforts to create a more sustainable coffee industry.

Contributors:
Christopher M. Bacon, David B. Bray, Sasha Courville, Jonathan A. Fox, Stephen R. Gliessman, David Goodman, Carlos Guadarrama-Zugasti, Shayna Harris, Roberta Jaffe, María Elena Martinez-Torres, V. Ernesto Méndez, Ellen Contreras Murphy, Tad Mutersbaugh, Seth Petchers, José Luis Plaza-Sanchez, Laura Trujillo, Silke Mason Westphal.

About the Editors

Christopher M. Bacon is a Researcher and Lecturer associated with the Agroecology Group as well as both the Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology Departments, University of California at Santa Cruz.

V. Ernesto Méndez is Assistant Professor in the Environmental Program and Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont.

Stephen R. Gliessman is Alfred Heller Professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

David Goodman is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Jonathan A. Fox is Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Department atthe University of California, Santa Cruz.

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