The Independent Voice
Message from President Smith
Hawaii Farmers Union United
American Origin Products Association
Trader Joe’s and 100% Kona Coffee
Message from the President
Mele Kalikimaka! A busy time for elves and for coffee farmers. Picking, pulping, drying, mailing, and doing it all over again. It is the fruit of YOUR labor. Hope this year’s crop has been better for you and in the rush of the season, let’s take a moment to just be grateful to be growing such wonderful world-renowned coffee in such a very beautiful place. Lucky us! The KCFA is grateful for all its members and especially for its hardworking volunteers who keep us all moving forward in a good direction. Mahalo and Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Cecelia Smith, President
Kona Coffee Farmers Association
KCFA Facilitates Formation of the Kona Chapter of the
HAWAII FARMERS UNION UNITED
KCFA is facilitating an organizational meeting of the Kona Chapter of the Hawaii Farmers Union United. The HFUU Kona Chapter meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 pm on December 18, 2012 at the CTAHR meeting room in Kainaliu. It will be followed by the regular KCFA Board meeting and social.
Earlier this year KCFA joined HFUU as an Affiliate Member. HFUU faithfully supported KCFA’s issues in the 2013 legislative session and collaborated with us in submitting testimony and organizing support. Legislators also told us that it was important for Kona farmers to have a statewide voice. HFUU is comprised of individual farmers and others who support HFUU’s mission to: advocate for the sovereign right of farmers to create and sustain vibrant and prosperous agricultural communities for the benefit of all Hawaii through cooperation, education and legislation.
HFUU is affiliated with the National Farmers Union, the oldest organization of farmers in the United States, which originated the nation-wide farmers’ cooperative movement in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Both NFU and HFUU are built from the bottom up on a grass roots model of transparency and responsiveness to its members. Annual membership dues for individuals is $30 or $75 for an “Ohana” membership of up to four people.
Upon joining HFUU as an Affiliate the KCFA Board appointed David Case as the Chair of the HFUU Committee to organize the HFUU Kona Chapter. HFUU then appointed David to the HFUU statewide board where he now serves as Board Secretary.
National/International Protection & Promotion of Kona Coffee as Origin Product
What happened at the October, 2012 American Origin Products Association (AOPA) founders conference in Fayetteville, Arkansas?
How does this relate to the KCFA Mission?
The AOPA meeting was very worthwhile for Kona Coffee Farmers Association. Essentially the meeting goal was to work with other producer groups who have similar goals and missions to KCFAs’ and therefore earn protection at the national level for all the products involved. While we did not talk about it formally, the side conversations included topics such as considering the subject of US origin certification, and who would do that and how it would be best handled.
Overall the conference was a dialogue with presentations amongst those involved with the subject area of ensuring that geographically identified agricultural products provide benefit back to those who produce. Additionally, place names are not made use of by others who use misleading labeling to earn profits, which should go to the producers. The Producer groups were joined by University faculty (University of Arkansas) as well as spokesmen from various Washington, DC offices. The international efforts of oriGIn, who works on this from Geneva, Switzerland, were presented by Colehour Bondera as the North American Vice President.
In fact, Beth Barham, the AOPA Executive Director, was considering taking our AOPA efforts along with her on a trip to France where she would talk with people about the opportunities (more to follow in next subject.) Finally, KCFA was well represented by Bruce Corker and Colehour Bondera. Thanks to KCFA for providing speakers and the new Board Directors with samples of our coffee. Our relationships were strengthened, and the KCFA role and position earned additional credence.
Next to consider – what happened for KCFA at the Salone del gusto/Terra Madre gathering in Turin, Italy?
How does this Slow Food event support the KCFA Mission?
After the AOPA meeting in Arkansas, was the bi-annual event held each time in Turin, Italy, near to where Slow Food started in Bra. As stated on the website (slowfood.com), Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
Both at conference sessions and in-food tasting booths, we were able to interact with the international Slow Food movement. Amazing to be in the old Fiat Factory and walk through six football fields worth of booths of small, origin products like Kona coffee.
Beth Barham also attended during her trip to France and she observed the Slow Food USA sections. The number and efforts of the US producer groups was quite minimal compared to other levels of involvement from the USA with Slow Food international. (The US has a huge ratio Slow Food members, and the percentage of US citizens overall was notable). In one of her communications Beth mentioned that it would be advisable for AOPA to have a booth space at the next Terra Madre gathering, and I fully agree! The whole event is very focused on promotion of geographically identified products from around the world, and involving Kona coffee in this effort would make a lot of sense for those selling and intending to purchase as well! The opportunity for education to the many thousands who attend each year is outstanding.
Also related to her time in France and working with folks from the European Union (EU), Beth Barham has suggested that KCFA consider hosting an intern from the EU in order to pursue researching added protection to the Kona coffee name via the EU. This offer could be a great strategy.
During the initial days I visited with the Parmigiano-Reggiano (P-R) booth and the folks who had presented the award to Kona coffee two years ago. They asked me to please be present at the award ceremony on Friday when Tequila was to receive the honorary award. I greeted the recipients, the award givers, who included the President of the BOD of P-R (Giuseppe Alai) as well as the retiring Executive Director of P-R (Leo Bertozzi). Ida Puzone was present from oriGIn in Geneva, Switzerland and another previous award recipient, representing Moroccan Aragon oil. The European representative from Tequila in Mexico was there to receive, and he was able to give his receipt in both Italian and English! This was followed by a three tequila and three P-R cheese pairing, with some interesting taste results.
Kona coffee was welcomed and recognized as an important player in the whole process by all involved, and KCFA was presented with a table in the crowded reception area. Also, I interacted with most people there one-on-one regarding how Kona coffee continues to work on our efforts. There was great interest in the progress forming AOPA for US national origin issues. Several folks suggested that we could and should consider hosting the international annual conference for oriGIn in Hawaii as soon as is possible, and I indicated that I would seriously pursue work with the state level folks on such an opportunity in coming years.
Overall, Kona coffee and KCFA have healthy recognition among those who advise and set policy about national and international efforts to protect and promote the range of products. 100% Kona coffee is seen as deserving the respect of such a place. By interacting with national and international origin product groups, we are gaining insight into possible solutions to our 10% Kona coffee fraud problem, be they legislation, certification, and/or marketing strategies. It is my suggestion that continued involvement in these efforts can do nothing but help ensure that we work to continue to promote and protect Kona coffee farmers economic interests in 100% Kona coffee, to protect the Kona heritage, and to seek greater legal protection of the Kona coffee name.
For those interested in more detail on the conference, click here to see the “AOPA Founders Conference Report.
Submitted by Colehour Bondera, KCFA Geographical Identity Chair
Trader Joe’s and 100% Kona Coffee
While shopping at Trader Joe’s in Seattle, KCFA member Dexter Washburn came across and purchased a box of “TRADER JOE’S CREAMY KONA COFFEE HALF-DIPPED SHORTBREAD COOKIES”. After finishing the cookies (rating them “superb”), Dexter forwarded the box to the KCFA Branding Committee with a suggestion that Trader Joe’s be recognized for two elements from the label: (1) the listing of “100% Kona Coffee (Ground)” as the coffee flavoring in both the shortbread cookie and the Kona coffee coating; and (2) the following description prominently displayed on the package:
“The Kona district of the Big Island of Hawaii is known for many things: a major athletic competition, active volcanoes, and perhaps most of all, its coffee. Kona Coffee, grown exclusively along the slopes of two volcanoes, is among the world’s most sought-after coffees.
Trader Joe’s Kona Coffee Creamy Half-Dipped Shortbread Cookies are rich, buttery cookies blended with Kona coffee. Gilding the cookies – half of each cookie, actually–is a sweet, creamy icing, also studded with ground Kona coffee. Complete the picture and add a cup of your favorite coffee – perhaps Kona?”
Dexter also noted (and the Trader Joe’s coffee buyer confirmed) that only 100% Kona ground and whole coffee—and not 10% Kona blends—are offered for sale at Trader Joe’s stores.
In response to this information, the KCFA Board of Directors determined to recognize Trader Joe’s commitment to 100% Kona Coffee. Section III.2.3 of the Association’s by-laws provide that “organizations that contribute to the objectives of KCFA may be awarded Honorary Memberships, in recognition of their contribution”—and at its November 20 meeting the Board adopted a resolution awarding an Honorary Membership to Trader Joe’s. Click here to review the resolution.
A formal certificate of Honorary Membership (suitable for framing) is being prepared and will be sent to CEO Daniel Bane at Trader Joe’s Corporate Office in Monrovia California.
KCFA relies on information from our members both about responsible marketing of Kona Coffee (this information about Trader Joe’s products, for example) and about deceptive practices (for example, packages of “Kona Blends” with no indication as to how much, if any, genuine Kona coffee is included). Please let us know what you find—particularly on visits to the Mainland.
Submitted by Bruce Corker
EXPO 2013 is scheduled for 2013 and promises to be bigger and better than ever. Tommy Greenwell of Greenwell Farms will be the keynote speaker and will speak on “The State of the CBB Infestation” based on data from his cherry suppliers.
Plan to attend and check out all available information on farm equipment, services, and supplies.
Sales have been great for burlap and Grainpro bags. More have been ordered so that there will be plenty to purchase at the EXPO.
Logo merchandise and seals will also be available. Your purchase and use of seals, both the 100% Kona seals and the Parmigiano-Reggiano Award seals support KCFA in efforts to promote and protect 100% Kona coffee.
Submitted by Mary Lou Moss