Flowers in Action (Flores em Ação) is a project empowering female farmers which recognises their work and commitment in producing specialty coffee. Together with APAS (Alto da Serra Producers’ Association), Minas Hill works on creating better opportunities to their female members, valuing their activities and encouraging them to produce and brand their own coffee.
Why is this initiative so important? The number of women participating in seminars and conferences on coffee is still very low, and the lack of them in coffee cooperative boards displays a precipitated and mistaken impression that women do not play such an important role in the coffee industry. According to Cristina Arzabe in her book Mulheres do Café no Brasil (Women in Coffee in Brazil), women are present in all fields in the coffee industry, but still occupy few leadership and decision-making roles.
Through extensive surveys in Brazil, Mrs. Arzabe was able to identify the profile of female producers in Brazil: most are between 26 and 35 years old, 55% have a monthly income of up to 5 minimum wages (AU $ 1,700) and only 10% have an income above AU $ 3,000 per month. 60% dedicate themselves, besides domestic chores, to the care of crops. 20% have a second job to supplement household income. Finally, the data indicates that 80% of coffee rural properties in Brazil are characterized as family farming but access to credit through public resources benefits 90% of men – this shows that women have limited economic autonomy and restricted possibilities to resource management.
Minas Hill has started working with the Flowers in Action project in 2019 and we’ve had many achievements since then. We managed to double the amount of coffee purchased and distributed to the Australian market, bringing a better income for female members of APAS (Alto da Serra Producers’ Association).
This year we are launching Flowers Reserve, a seasonal blend 100% produced by women. We were also able to empower and create more visibility to these producers: Simone Borges was the champion of the Concurso Florada Premiada in 2019. Her coffee was awarded as the best coffee produced by women during the International Coffee Week in Brazil. We have also built strong partnerships between producers and Australian coffee roasters.
We know much remains to be done. That is why our support to this project is continuous. We are proud to announce that we will launch the new crop of Flowers in Action on March 12th in Melbourne. We are all going to discuss the importance of women in the coffee scene and debate what initiatives should be implemented to achieve gender equity and strengthen women connected in the coffee industry. We invite all to answer the question “why is it still so important to promote women in coffee?” and join us in building more opportunities in the coffee industry.
Meet the farmers behind Flowers in Action who have produced micro-lots specially to the Australian market:
- Pamela Borges – Yellow Catuai, Natural process, 1280m
- Elza Borges – Yellow Bourbon and Icatu, Natural process, 1050m
- Flavia Betoni – Red Catuai, Natural process, 1250m
- Dayse – Yellow Bourbon, Natural process, 1350m
- Ana Rubia Borges – Yellow Catuai, Natural process, 1080m
- Simone Borges – Yellow Catucai, Natural process, 1250m
- Andresa – Red Acaia, Natural / Fermented, 1270m
- Meire – Yellow Catuai, Natural process, 1100m
- Marcia – Red Mundo Novo, Natural process, 1270m