THE BLOG
11/10/2014 09:59 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2015

Latin American Coffee Farmers Prosper in a New Partnership With Chick-fil-A

For millions of coffee lovers, that first morning cup is a necessary ritual to properly launch the day. Indeed, the most serious coffee drinkers do not even consider themselves fully awake until their hands are securely wrapped around a cup of their favorite "liquid sunshine."

My question to them is: Do you know who grows your favorite drink?

Despite the importance of this essential lifestyle staple, many coffee lovers I interviewed admitted that they knew very little about the actual source of their favorite morning pick-me-up. While some were familiar with and even insistent upon the particular region whence their daily libation originates, they never really considered the farmers who nurture and harvest the aromatic beans so they can be ground and brewed to perfection for our enjoyment (and perhaps survival)! Yet,many stated that they would be interested in knowing more if they could.

A new partnership between Chick-fil-A and THRIVE Farmers is bridging the gap. Coffee lovers take note: This partnership brings the first-ever specialty-grade coffee to the quick-service restaurant industry, and it is currently available at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide.

It is a partnership that uses a new revenue model -- a farmer-direct model -- that allows THRIVE Farmer network members to sell coffee beans directly to Chick-fil-A. This benefits farmers because by eliminating the middle man, it allows them to generate up to 10 times more income than with traditional revenue models.

According to THRIVE Farmers, their unique "platform gives farmers direct access to the marketplace for their coffee, allowing them to maintain ownership until the point of sale by THRIVE. At that time, the farmer receives a fixed percentage of the revenue generated for their coffee -- thereby avoiding any link to the commodity pricing."

The growing of coffee is as rightfully an intimate process, as are our own individualistic rituals with coffee. Rather than machines picking coffee cherries, which often results in the gathering of defective beans, individual farmers -- many of whom possess a deep sense of history and passion for cultivating the finest crops -- take pride in handpicking only the finest-quality beans necessary to bring us the specialty-grade coffee, which is now available for our enjoyment at Chick-fil-A.

This sustainable model brings us the faces of the family farmers behind the art of coffee production and, most importantly, creates a new level of financial stability and prosperity for family-farming communities throughout Central America.

For those of us who appreciate knowing that our consumerism serves a dual purpose -- getting us what we want while also helping others -- this is an especially exciting reason to order a second and maybe even a third cup.

Says THRIVE farmer Vinicio González from Concepción Pinula, Guatemala:

What I hope is that all farmers like myself will have a better future ... because the future is not only for me. It's for my family. It's for my workers. I know I can provide work for a lot of people if I have better coffee. If the coffee is good ... and we go to one location where people buy the coffee ... we can do more than just harvest coffee.

Michael Jones, the founder and CEO of THRIVE Farmers, adds:

Our partnership with Chick-fil-A is rooted in a shared commitment to providing quality coffee while impacting farmers and their communities. By partnering with Chick-fil-A's 1,800-plus restaurants, we have together an unprecedented opportunity to expand the impact of our farmer-direct platform and allow Chick-fil-A's customers to know the positive impact they are having on the farmers who grow their coffee.

According to Neilson, "More than half of global respondents (52%) say they have purchased at least one product or service in the past six months from a socially responsible company."

Now that's a cup of coffee worth drinking!