Driven to Espresso: Drive-through Coffee Stands in the Northwest

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Location: Edmonds, WA, United States

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What do bicycles have to do with coffee farming?

I am intrigued to hear of a program to help Rwanda coffee farmers by helping them buy bicycles. In an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, columnist Ed Graney describes Kimberly Coats, a truly inspirational woman, and her mission to provide bicycles and improve the lives of these poor farmers.

Like anywhere, getting the coffee cherries quickly from the coffee fields makes the coffee more valuable and fetch a better price. In the article, Graney says that "bicycles are the central form of transportation for farmers," and that "most farmers use 50-pound bikes made of wood ... and push them for several miles at a time carrying more than 300 pounds of coffee cherries."

Phew! My whole body aches hearing that!

With an average annual income of $350 per family and bikes costing over $200, you can see the problem. Kimberly is helping to raise awareness of Project Rwanda, which is "committed to furthering the economic development of Rwanda through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope. [Project Rwanda's] goal is use the bike to help boost the Rwandan economy as well as re-brand Rwanda as a beautiful and safe place to do business and visit freely."

Read more about Project Rwanda here. Read Ed Graney's article here.

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