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  • Hannah Clark

Manchester Coffee Festival Podcast

Hannah Davies (Cup North), Holly Kragiopoulos (North Star Coffee), Cristina Talens (Source Climate Change Coffee) and Hannah Clark  (Farmers' Voice Radio).
Farmers' Voice Radio presentation at Manchester Coffee Festival with BSL interpretation. Photo Credit: Lydia Turnbull at North Star Roast

Manchester Coffee Festival has become a staple in the Farmers’ Voice Radio calendar and the 2022 edition was better than ever!

Held in the Bowlers Exhibition Center on 12th and 13th November, the festival was a fantastic opportunity to meet up with old friends from the speciality coffee world and introduce Farmers’ Voice Radio to some new ones too. We are grateful to Cup North's Hannah Davies for her tremendous support of our work over the last few years, and we were delighted to be selected as the charity partner for this year’s festival. As well as providing us with an excellently positioned pitch, a presentation slot and a platform to promote our work, Farmers’ Voice Radio also received 5% of ticket sales. Our good friends at Dark Woods Coffee also kindly donated all their takings from the weekend to Farmers’ Voice Radio. This valuable income will go towards the running costs of our 2023 Farmers’ Voice Radio Academy – a free training opportunity for organisations working with coffee, tea and cocoa smallholders. Huge thanks to all who donated for helping us to put the power of participatory radio into the hands of thousands more farmers.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the interactive activity on Saturday afternoon. To demonstrate how Farmers’ Voice Radio works, we hosted a Programme Reference Group discussion with a wonderful group of coffee roasters, producers, consumers and other people working in the coffee sector. The discussion focused on what a ‘sustainable coffee sector’ meant to them and was recorded and edited into a podcast with the generous assistance of our media friends Patrick Kiteley (BBC radio) and Tegan Easton (University of Salford). The recording took place at the same time as a barista competition, so we battled against some serious background noise! Despite this, we managed to capture some fascinating contributions from Marie Bernice from Rwamatamu Coffee in Rwanda, and Kar-yee and Stewart from Karst Organics in Timor Leste. Dave Burton from Rounton Coffee , Damien Blackburn from Dark Woods Coffee , Bryan Serwatka from Minor Figures and Kiera Wilkins from The Alternative Coffee Company also spoke about how they work towards meeting their own sustainability standards, in terms of their relationships with coffee producer groups, their communications and how they operate in the UK. Tawfeeq is a coffee enthusiast and consumer who asked the group poignant questions about how younger farmers can be incentivised to farm coffee and take on their family farms. We discussed how Farmers’ Voice Radio is contributing by enabling coffee producers to voice their concerns and share their solutions, whilst also honouring and valuing the generations of expertise and knowledge that coffee farmers have. You can listen to the podcast here.

On Sunday afternoon we were invited to be part of the speaker series ‘Showcasing Sustainability in Coffee', along with Liam Maidment from North Star Coffee Roasters, Roland Glew at Hasbean, Ed Towers at Brades Farm Dairy Ltd and Francis Clarke at Trewithen Dairy. These are amazing businesses that are building the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the coffee sector – and it was great to share how Farmers’ Voice Radio is contributing to more sustainable coffee production. We also were thrilled to have British Sign Language interpretation for the presentation – massive thumbs up to MCF for making the event so inclusive.

All in all, it was an excellent weekend and we can’t wait for next year!

The Farmers' Voice Radio stand at Manchester Coffee Festival. Photo credit: Lou Wilcock


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