March is Women’s History Month and a time to amplify women’s voices and reflect on the vital role women play in industry, art, culture, and community. According to a 2018 report by the International Coffee Organization, women contribute significantly to the global coffee economy with 20-30% of coffee farms being female-owned or operated and up to 70% of the agricultural labor associated with global coffee production being provided by women.
Even with recent attention and global efforts to close the gender gap in coffee-producing countries, women in coffee often have less access to land, financing, and technology that could improve quality and increase the productivity of the coffee they grow.
As the largest coffee grower in the United States, Kauai Coffee is committed to providing equal opportunity and is immensely proud of the accomplishments and contributions women make to our team and our high-quality, island-grown coffee every day. Much like the land they care for and coffee they produce, the history of women working in coffee on Kauai is rich and robust.
Kauai Coffee company began in the early 1800s as the McBryde Sugar Company – one of the first sugar plantations in Hawaii. As the sugar industry began to fade across the islands in the 1980s, The McBryde Sugar landowners began to diversify crops and found that coffee took well to the environment and weather of the southwest shore and so Kauai Coffee was born.
Many of the women who work on the farm, care for our coffee trees, and process coffee today have been working in agriculture on this farm since the days of McBryde Sugar. Sitting around the lunch table with smiles wide and bright it’s clear to see their love of the land and their work and know that without their contributions and decades of knowledge Kauai Coffee just wouldn’t be the same.
Kauai Coffee also partners with organizations like The Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade International, which support efforts to close the coffee gender gap worldwide and certify that our coffee meets global sustainability standards and makes a positive impact on the environment.
Celebrating Women in Coffee on Kauai
For the last few years, Kauai Coffee has hosted a celebratory event on International Women’s Day to recognize the women who make Kauai Coffee what it is today. This year the luncheon was held on Friday, March 8 and while not every staff member could attend there was an excellent turn out of more than 25 employees.
Michele Kimura, Human Resources Manager, organizes the International Women’s Day event at Kauai Coffee each year. “This is the third year we have hosted this celebration. It’s so important for us to come together from across different departments from the orchard to the Visitors Center and everything in between to celebrate our accomplishments together. Women contribute so much to Kauai Coffee from seed to cup and across the global coffee industry as well,” said Kimura.
From keeping our orchards healthy and weed free, to managing irrigation, harvesting, processing, roasting and packaging coffee, women are involved in every step of the process at Kauai Coffee. Share this story and shop your favorite Kauai Coffee to help us celebrate Women’s History Month, our staff, and the incredible impact women make in the coffee industry worldwide.