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Why Five Women Farmers
in Costa Rica are
Documenting their Fight for Gender Equality in the Coffee Industry
Farmers

"Somos mujeres luchadoras."  | "We are women fighters."

Tatiana Vargas

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Stories about coffee
you haven't heard before.
coffee

A creative exploration of the lived experiences of women coffee producers who grow the fruit behind the world's most popular drink. 

Only 20-30% of coffee farms worldwide are operated by women

Counting female farm operators, agricultural workers, and other types of related work, women provide an estimated 70% of the labor to produce the world's coffee

Women earn 40% lower revenue from coffee sales than their male counterparts
(source: International Coffee Organization)

PROJECT BACKGROUND

This short documentary film will be the final culmination of a multiyear participatory media project in which five smallholder coffee producers in Costa Rica will receive technical filmmaking and storytelling training. 

Two 501c3 non-profits, Needle + Frame and Bean Voyage, are partnering to ensure the film will be a meaningful experience for project participants self-documenting their stories, as well as coffee consumers and other actors along the supply chain who would be served by the documentary. The film will offer an advocacy tool to better communicate the value of coffee and advance the social and political efficacy of the women who produce it. ​

PROJECT PARTNERS

Needle + Frame is a filmmaking and arts collective that builds solidarity, unites communities, and inspires courageous action toward positive social transformation. Needle + Frame believes in a media landscape that is inclusive, just, and ethical, centering community wisdom and intention to create films and other artforms that educate, entertain, and inspire. 

Bean Voyage's mission is to eradicate the gender gap in farming communities through access to educational opportunities, economic growth, political participation, health, and well-being. Over the past four years, Bean Voyage has equipped 100 smallholder womxn coffee producers with tools and networks to improve their economic, political, and social well-being through their educational programs and market outreach efforts.

Concept

Phase One:

Training and Development

  • Co-creation and participatory design process with coffee producers
     

  • Identify and build community partnerships in Costa Rica and internationally

  • Provide camera kit and filmmaking equipment to participants for ongoing community use/ creative asset 

  • Run a series of virtual ½ day workshops, teaching technical filmmaking and storytelling skills, including film, poetry, visual arts, and other methods. 

  • Participants self-document during harvest season and receive personalized iterative training and feedback as part of storytelling workshops.

Phase Two:

Production

  • Professional film team travels to Costa Rica for in-person documentation (safety permitting) 

  • Needle + Frame team implements in-person technical film and storytelling trainings for coffee producers (safety permitting)

  • Co-develop community-driven distribution plan and action toolkit in partnership with the participating smallholder women coffee producers

  • Procure additional grant funding for production and distribution

Phase Three: 

Post-Production & Distribution

  • Professional editing and post-production of participant and professional footage
     

  • Implement community-driven distribution plan and action toolkit
     

  • Organize screenings and provide speaking/advocacy opportunities for participants
     

  • The documentary itself branches into a variety of formats still to be defined, nonetheless foreseen: websites, a traveling photo story to be placed in a variety of coffee shops, relevant spaces, etc.

CONCEPT

Phase One:

Training and Development

  • Co-creation and participatory design process with coffee producers
     

  • Identify and build community partnerships in Costa Rica and internationally

  • Provide camera kit and filmmaking equipment to participants for ongoing community use/ creative asset 

  • Run a series of virtual ½ day workshops, teaching technical filmmaking and storytelling skills, including film, poetry, visual arts, and other methods. 

  • Participants self-document during harvest season and receive personalized iterative training and feedback as part of storytelling workshops.

Phase Two:

Production

  • Professional film team travels to Costa Rica for in-person documentation (safety permitting) 

  • Needle + Frame team implements in-person technical film and storytelling trainings for coffee producers (safety permitting)

  • Co-develop community-driven distribution plan and action toolkit in partnership with the participating smallholder women coffee producers

  • Procure additional grant funding for production and distribution

Phase Three: 

Post-Production & Distribution

  • Professional editing and post-production of participant and professional footage
     

  • Implement community-driven distribution plan and action toolkit
     

  • Organize screenings and provide speaking/advocacy opportunities for participants
     

  • The documentary itself branches into a variety of formats still to be defined, nonetheless foreseen: websites, a traveling photo story to be placed in a variety of coffee shops, relevant spaces, etc.

PARTICIPATORY DESIGN

Co-Creation

We hold regular virtual meetings with Arleen, Maria, Margoth, Ericka, and Tatiana to build trusting and transparent relationships, as we co-create the design of this project; Our participatory model emphasizes a continuous process of consulting with participants about their goals, dreams, visions, expectations and needs.

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Creative Exploration

In addition to technical training on videography and other storytelling skills, project participants will engage in other creative activities to reflect on their personal experiences related to coffee farming. Activities include writing poetry, journaling prompts, and art projects.

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Self-Directed Documentation

Through group work and individual coaching, participants use multimedia materials from their lives (including photos, music, artwork, letters, audio messages) to create personalized, self-directed videos.

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Help make this vision a reality. 

 

Project brewing...
More updates coming soon