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Hardcover | Out of Print | 408 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 3 maps, 5 charts, 16 graphs, 12 figures, 33 tables | January 2008 | ISBN: 9780262026338
Paperback | $34.00 Short | £27.95 | 408 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 3 maps, 5 charts, 16 graphs, 12 figures, 33 tables | January 2008 | ISBN: 9780262524803
eBook | $24.00 Short | January 2008 | ISBN: 9780262250955
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Confronting the Coffee Crisis

Fair Trade, Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystems in Mexico and Central America


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.

Christopher M. Bacon, David B. Bray, Sasha Courville, Jonathan A. Fox, Stephen R. Gliessman, David Goodman, Carlos Guadarrama-Zugasti, Shayna Harris, Roberta Jaffe, Maria Elena Martinez-Torres, V. Ernesto Mendez, Ellen Contreras Murphy, Tad Mutersbaugh, Seth Petchers, Jose 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.


“Academics and practitioners working in the field of sustainable development acknowledge that economic, social, political, and ecological dimensions of development are interconnected and need to be understood and addressed simultaneously. Yet few books actually achieve such an integrated approach. Confronting the Coffee Crisis does so admirably and should become a standard reference for all concerned not only with the world of coffee but also with the broader challenge of inclusive development.”
Peter Utting, Deputy Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)