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Coops, community, and agroforestry: Q&A with coffee entrepreneur Dean Cycon

13 / 05 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Dean Cycon is an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer by training who’s been involved in community development since 1976. He founded or co-founded numerous international development groups, including Coffee Kids and also the roasters’ cooperative Coop Coffees, both very early projects of their kind. His main coffee roasting business, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee, has become a successful marketer of organic beans grown in agroforestry systems across the tropics, and has won several international sustainability awards for the direct, people-centered approach to development. Entrepreneurs, investors, trainers, researchers and advocates like Cycon will be convening in Montpellier, France, next week for the World Agroforestry Congress to discuss how this carbon-sequestering and biodiversity friendly agricultural practice which produces shade-grown coffee, chocolate, and much more across the world can scale up to meet the needs of people and planet. Coffee and community entrepreneur Dean Cycon gets directly involved when visiting cooperative partners like here in Sumatra, Indonesia. Image courtesy of Dean’s Beans. Mongabay: How long have you been buying coffee directly from growers? Dean Cycon: I began Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee twenty-six years ago. I was an environmental lawyer and indigenous rights advocate at the time. I wanted to see if it would be possible for a business to be directly involved with the economic, ecological and social issues confronting largely indigenous coffee communities, be effective, and still be profitable. If so, we would have a new business model that others couldn’t ignore. A recent Mongabay feature found that agroforestry-grown coffee and cooperative business empowers…

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