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Carrboro Coffee Roasters stirs discussion on gender equity

Scott Conary, president of the Carrboro Coffee Roasters, introduces the Gender in Coffee documentary with a short presentation on the coffee industry.
Scott Conary, president of the Carrboro Coffee Roasters, introduces the Gender in Coffee documentary with a short presentation on the coffee industry.

Carrboro Coffee Roasters hosted a screening of "Gender in Coffee - A Documentary" at Open Eye Cafe on Wednesday.

The documentary follows the path of coffee production from smallholder farming families in the community of Chiapas, Mexico, to roasters and cafes in the United States. The film focuses on gender equity throughout these pathways, as told through the personal stories of the men and women working within the industry.

The documentary supports the efforts of the Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE), which works to ensure farming is viable for every family member involved.

Scott Conary, owner of Open Eye Cafe and president of Carrboro Coffee Roasters, gave the screening’s opening remarks and led its closing discussion.

“As Carrboro Coffee Roasters, we do our own green coffee sourcing, and so we go around the world and we work with coffee farmers directly," Conary said. "While we’re doing that, we see the need for things to be better."

He said one of the aspects they take note of is gender equity. They look for other groups who are trying to approach this issue, including the Coffee Quality Institute, whose all-inclusive, worldwide approach aims to promote gender equity by building healthier supply chains.

Conary said that the screening was held partly in an effort to further develop CQI’s gender equity program through outreach to both industry members and regular coffee consumers.

In attendance were a mix of fair sourcing advocates, coffee makers, consumers and film buffs. 

Andrea Cash, a Durham resident, said that she was attending the screening at the recommendation of a friend, noting her interest in documentaries as well as the film’s main focus.

“I’m interested in documentary films, and I’m interested in anything related to women’s rights,” Cash said.

Lane Mitchell, also in attendance, works with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports women in the coffee community internationally.

“I’m here because the Partnership for Gender Equity is a sister organization of ours, and it has the same kind of goals of promoting women in the coffee world,” Mitchell said.

Conary lead a post-screening discussion in which audience members discussed the balance of workloads among men and women in the farming communities shown in the film and how gender equity is being promoted in families, communities and within distributors.

The discussion closed with a presentation of PGE accomplishments, future goals and approaches for promoting gender equity throughout the global coffee supply chain.

All funds raised by optional donations made at the screening went toward the Equal Origins initiative of the Partnership for Gender Equity. 

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