Traceability Systems for Coffee Farmers: A Key to Sustainability and Food Security

Stephen Vick

January 2012

Video »

Stephen will be discussing data tracking systems at the coffee farm level and how they are critical to sustainability, traceability, transparency, and food security. Because coffee is grown exclusively in developing countries, a number of technological and cultural considerations must be made when designing and implementing these systems. He will discuss the progress and pitfalls of current systems and why HCDE professionals could play an important role in taking these systems to the next level, improving farmer livelihoods in the long run.

About the Speaker:

Stephen Vick graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Centered Design & Engineering from the University of Washington in 2001. Most recently, Stephen worked as the National Quality Control Manager for Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea in Chicago and Los Angeles

Stephen began his work in coffee as a barista for Zoka Coffee in Seattle and spent much of his career as a trainer and educator for Zoka, as well as Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. He placed third in the 2003 US Barista Championship and has since served a USBC and WBC judge, as well as a Cup of Excellence international jury member.

A few years ago, Stephen shifted his work to origin, applying his well-rounded knowledge of the high-end specialty roaster market to help farmers improve the quality of their coffee and, in turn, their quality of life. During his time as Quality Control Project Manager for Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, he implemented rigorous quality control systems and protocols for the 5,000 farmer members of the Kanyovu Cooperative near Kigoma, Tanzania. The cooperative’s shift in focus with regards to quality resulted in Kanyovu winning first prize at the 2010 EAFCA Taste of Harvest competition in Mombasa, Kenya.