How Kenneth Lander and THRIVE Farmers Are Revolutionizing the Coffee Supply Chain


By Janina Grabs
Food Tank
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June 11 2015 – THRIVE Farmers International has an ambitious goal: to fundamentally revolutionize the mainstream coffee supply chain, which has many middlemen and a strong reliance on volatile commodity markets. THRIVE supports farmers in maintaining interest in their harvest through the crop’s final purchase. By staying involved until the end of the chain where their coffee has the highest value, farmers can retain profit margins up to 10 times higher than those in conventional markets. We sat down with THRIVE co-founder Kenneth Lander at his coffee farm in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Food Tank (FT): How do you explain to consumers what differentiates THRIVE from other sustainable schemes such as Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance?

Kenneth Lander (KL): We wholeheartedly support Fairtrade, but we are something different. At the end of the day, we are not about trying to create a floor that prevents a farmer from going upside down on things; we want the farmer to make a sustainable living, take the next step, and become an entrepreneur.

We are not trade; we are relationship. We are not a commodities market; we are a farmers market. A consumer only needs to understand that we work like their local farmers market, except that these farmers are an ocean away. We have a gift for connecting the consumer to the farmer through storytelling; that is what we do best.

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