Coffee with a Conscience
Now the Kent State community can enjoy gourmet coffee while helping small-scale farmers in East Africa. As the first university in America to partner with Sweet Unity Farms—a Tanzanian-based sustainable coffee company—Kent State supports supplier diversity and assures consumers that cash spent on this coffee goes to a good cause.
“All the product comes from small, family-owned farms organized as cooperatives,” says David Robinson, who moved to Tanzania in 1984, established a coffee farm and cooperative, then founded Up-Country International Products to market the coffee.
His company pays higher than fair trade prices through direct trade agreements and shares profits with cooperative members. It also provides educational programs, health assistance and help with other development projects.
Bags of 100 percent Arabica coffee beans are sold at three locations on the Kent Campus, and the coffee is brewed and sold at Moyo Cafe in Oscar Ritchie Hall. Robinson, son of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, hopes to expand to other colleges: “Students are the consumers who are going to embrace our brand.”