On October 21, Director of Sustainability Brandon Bir will take part in a panel discussion presented by the Coffee Equity Lab at The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s innovation center.
The panel will discuss “Information and Education Access as a Consumer-Side Change Agent,” at 12 p.m. CDT. Register at this link for the free online series.
Other panelists include Cheyenne Xochitl Love, Founder of Queer Wave Coffee; Lori Jones, Owner of Blackology Coffee; and Darrell Baskin, Retail Educator at Groundwork Coffee.
A Four-Part Conversation on Coffee Equity
“I’m honored to be given a platform to talk about my experience within the industry,” Brandon said. “Bringing attention and equity to all involved in the value chain has always been my underlying goal as a coffee professional.”
The panel is the second in a four-part conversation series presented by the Coffee Equity Lab, an experiential learning and research lab at The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s innovation center.
The series addresses how race, gender, socioeconomic class, geographic location, native language, and other factors affect coffee professionals’ access to information, education, and professional development experiences.
Moderators and speakers will share their unique perspectives and offer insights to create a more equitable coffee sector for all.
Moving Toward a Better Coffee Future
“My hope is that bringing attention to this subject will spark more conversations and more movement towards a better tomorrow for ALL people involved in coffee, especially for the people least represented,” Brandon said.
“These types of events are important for the sustainability of our industry, as more and more people who are treated unfairly are leaving coffee altogether. What a loss!”
Friend2Farmer and The Ripple Effect
With over 14 years of specialty coffee experience, Brandon serves as East Regional Coordinator for the Specialty Coffee Association USA Chapter Committee. He joined Crimson Cup in April 2010.
As Director of Sustainability, he travels over 100,000 miles in an average year to grow relationships with coffee farmers and processors.
Through our Friend2Farmer initiatives, we work hand-in-hand to connect farmers and cooperatives to resources that allow them to increase the quality of coffee and life for their communities. Brandon’s team makes several trips a year to source exceptional coffees, strengthen relationships and help fund community-enriching projects like schools, homes and water filtration.
We maintain over 50 mutually rewarding relationships with smallholder coffee farmers in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
The initiatives contribute to The Ripple Effect: a focus on good that ripples outward to affect the lives of our team, partners and community for years and generations to come.
Brandon also teaches classes and judges at coffee industry events, including the Golden Bean North America and Australia/New Zealand coffee roasting awards.
Among other coffee industry qualifications, he is an Assistant Q Instructor for the Coffee Quality Institute, SCA Lab/Campus Inspector, Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), SCA Specialized Instructor and SCA Lead Instructor.
He also serves on the board of the Ohio Culinary Science Advisory Board and volunteers as an SCA Sensory Skills Course Contributor.
He earned a Master of Business Administration in International Business and Sustainability from The University of Wisconsin.