“These are voices that have never been heard and faces that are rarely seen. You really learn not only where, but from whom your coffee comes.”
~Producer Chelsea Dennis
An independent, local documentary, Connected By Coffee, makes its world premiere in Traverse City on tomorrow for Earth Day (April 22) at The State Theatre. Aaron and Chelsea Dennis’s local film company Stone Hut Studios tells the story of Latin American coffee farmers and how our daily brew is deeply connected to that region’s fortunes.
Director Aaron Dennis says, “Worldwide, over 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily, but most people don’t think about what goes into making it. Each cup takes about 70 beans, all of which are hand-picked by a real person. Despite the enormous wealth the coffee trade generates, most coffee farmers see very little of that money and often live in poverty. They typically make less per day than we spend on one cappuccino. In this film, we’ll witness how coffee is changing from a tool of oppression into a tool for empowerment, and how it is transforming small scale coffee growing communities across the world.”
One of the two U.S. roasters in the film is Chris Treter of TC-based Higher Grounds Trading Company. He says, “Nationally there is a groundswell of grassroots support aimed at connecting growers with consumers. This story will show consumers the men and women who produce their coffee, and how consumers can make a difference in their lives by the purchases they make and organizations they support.”
Aaron Dennis adds, “Connected By Coffee shows a situation where historically there has been a great deal of injustice, but now there is a model for hope through cooperatives and alternative trade. Today these coffee farmers and fair-traders are working together to create a revolutionary business model that puts people and the planet first.“
The premiere for Connected By Coffee is at The State Theater at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22. The screening is co-hosted by the On The Ground and Oryana Natural Foods Market. Independent Singer/Songwriter Miriam Pico will be opening the evening in a live performance. A Q&A will follow the film, giving viewers a chance to interact with the filmmakers and Chris Treter of Higher Grounds, and an after-party will continue at The Workshop Brewing Company after the Q and A with live music.
More information about the film can be found at www.ConnectedByCoffee.com. Watch the trailer below!