Next week: Jerry Karabensh will educate us on the importance of our medical records, and share an update on current industry practices.
Prez Jody Stickels opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thoughts for the Day: (from Pete) “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Churchill. And, “When there is no vision, there is no hope.” – George Washington Carver.
Today’s Guests: Chuck Tourtillott, our Humane Society’s new Executive Director; and Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee Co., and today’s speaker.
– Kathleen is happy that she went to the Colorado wedding of former foreign exchange student from Sweden.
– Bruce is happily making friends in Portland with lots of Mendo ex-pats. (Bruce wasn’t here, so who reported this happy dollar?)
– Heather is happy that she was just accepted into this year’s Leadership Mendocino class.
– Lindsay is happy about the Mendocino Art Center’s summer fair, and for Paul, our guest speaker today, and his company’s support of MAC’s events.
– Jody is extremely happy that his family got to move into their new house last week! Congrats!
Ray announced our next Highway cleanup will be Aug. 1 or 8, please send him an RSVP with which date works best for you (7 responses for Aug. 8 so far — we need 3 more since our territory is bigger than we thought!).
Jerry announced a class available through CVS to quit smoking. CVS no longer sells cigarettes!
Kira gave an update on our August 22 Golf Tournament. Keep looking for hole sponsors and raffle prizes. We need more teams to register, we have 5 so far. Harvest is working on food donations. She passed around a sign-up sheet for jobs to make the tournament a success.
Jody announced that the club’s Board met earlier this week. Travis and Jody met with the Mendocino High School and superintendent of schools to talk about our Community Service project to renovate the disk golf course located on the high school campus. The school folks approved of the project. There is only one other disk golf course with an ocean view, and that is located in Fort Bragg. This renovation will make it possible to do fundraising events at the course. The improved tee pads will have the Rotary stamp.
Jody also announced that we need to vote on the proposal to move our club to the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. It’s been approved by the District, whose rules state that each club needs to meet four times per month, but not all four meetings need to be the usual noon meeting. The proposal is that the club’s regular meetings would be the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month (and attendance would be tracked for these meetings only); the 3rd meeting of the month would be the regular Board meeting on 3rd Monday of each month. The first week of the month we would have a working/project meeting or a social event such as a cocktail party. Jerry moved to approve this motion. Most of the club seconded it. Majority voted yes, two voted no. This new schedule will begin in August (so there will be no regular club meeting on August 5).
Heather introduced today’s speaker, Paul Katzeff, co-founder (with his wife Joan) of Thanksgiving Coffee Co. Before Paul spoke, Heather asked the following Finemaster questions:
Thanksgiving Coffee Co. (TCC) was founded in what year? 1972.
What is the TCC motto? (“Not just a cup, but a just cup.”)
True or False: TCC’s first building where coffee was roasted was located in downtown Mendocino. (False: their first location was the oldest building in Noyo Harbor.)
True or False: TCC once had a restaurant in Fort Bragg called Thanksgiving Restaurant. (True, it opened in 1974.)
In what year did TCC become the first specialty coffee roaster to sell to a major grocery chain? (1978.)
What was that major grocery chain? (Safeway.)
TCC buys coffee beans from how many countries? (Ten.)
Name four of those countries. (Nicaragua – Bolivia – Peru – Guatemala – Uganda – Rwanda – Ethiopia – Laos – Sumatra – U.S. (Hawaii).)
How many families grow coffees as members of the 13 co-ops TCC buys from? (55,394 families.)
Heather explained that TCC has won many awards, including a waste reduction award (2001, 2002, 2003), the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award (2008), the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Lifetime Achievement Award (2008), and the SCAA Sustainability Award (2012). Sales of TCC’s coffees support not only social and environmental justice causes, they also support work toward peace. TCC also pioneered work that allowed the farmers to improve the quality of their products at origin, through cupping labs.
Heather has been working with TCC for a few months and they are on the verge of becoming a Certified B Corp. One other cool fact that Heather shared is that Paul is the only person she knows who’s actually created an app, so next time you’re looking for the perfect coffee pairing, remember that “there’s an app for that!” (It’s called Smart Coffee, and it’s available in the app store.)
Paul took the podium, and shared that he and Joan arrived here in 1972, so he’s a real “local” now. He gave a shout out to Tom for introducing him to B Corp concept, and a shout out to Jerry and John for their work with the Humane Society. He arrived as a hippie selling candles and stringing beads, and has come a long way since then.
Paul has a Masters Degree in Social Work, and escaped New York to come here. He worked in East Harlem as a community organizer. He and Joan started Thanksgiving Coffee Co in Noyo Harbor, their first motto was “In search of the perfect cup.” Then the motto changed to “Roasters to wine country” as the company grew. By 1985, the motto was “Many beans are picked, few are chosen.” It has since evolved into “Not Just a Cup, but a Just Cup.”
The name Thanksgiving Coffee Co. came from a conversation he had with a friend while building a cafe in Colorado, when the name came to him out of the blue. This friend soon came back to him with the following passage from 1 Timothy 4: “All things that are God given should be received with thanksgiving.” He considers it the most beautiful word in the English language.
For Paul, the original idea of specialty coffee was about craftsmanship, as he was surrounded by the other craftsmen in Noyo Harbor. He was the first social worker to become a coffee roaster, and when two careers come together like that, he says, you’ll get an explosion of new ideas.
He had an epiphany in 1985 in Nicaragua: he had to stop selling at high prices and buying at low prices, and instead think of the farmers as “us” and not as the enemy. He transformed his company to buy at the highest price possible while still being able to make enough profit to pay his employees a decent wage.
He only buys from cooperatives, not from estates. In the wine industry, “estate” means quality. In the coffee industry, “estate” means poverty. Cheap coffee comes from estates; buying cheap coffee supports a system that treats workers poorly. Whether you buy from Thanksgiving Coffee or not, Paul asked that we please buy coffee from cooperatives only.
The cupping labs allowed farmers to taste their product and compare it against others, and thereby improve the quality of their product. Paul explained that when you allow farmers to own the tools of their trade, good things happen. The cupping lab project in Nicaragua was funded by USAID. The project gave hope to one group of farmers in Nicaragua; in two growing seasons, they increased the value of their crops by $40million.
Fifteen years later, a majority of the 25 million coffee growers around the globe have access to cupping labs and hope for their futures. That came from our community right here on the Mendocino Coast.
Now, TCC uses its brand as a bully pulpit. With the planet in the shape it’s in, he’s proud to be able to be making a difference through partnerships with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, and others (such as the local Humane Society).
The SCAA is the largest trade association in the world for specialty coffee. He’s served as the SCAA president twice. Paul made a joke about receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award: it means you’re done, and nobody calls you anymore.
Peet’s Coffee is no longer “Berkeley,” as it is owned by a German holding company that also makes a harmful pesticide that is killing bees around the world. Research the companies you buy from!
Check out his app. He’s one of the oldest app developers that Apple has… they spent 5 years developing it. The app is called Smart Coffee.
Parting thought: we need to do what we can to protect our forests and ensure that the ecosystem doesn’t fall out of equilibrium.
Today’s Raffle Winners: Heather and John P.