After the Harvest

6:11 min
Director: Brian Kimmel
Producer: Laura Peterson

Winner of the N/A


In a recent survey of small-scale coffee famers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, over 67% indicated they were unable to maintain their normal diet for 3-8 months of the year. There are “Los Mesos Flacos”, or the thin months, when families make ends meet by eating less, eating less expensive foods, or borrowing against their future earnings from coffee. While incredibly complex, recent work suggests it is not unsolvable.

AFTER THE HARVEST: FIGHTING HUNGER IN THE COFFEE LANDS is a film that brings the day-to-day challenges of the thin months to life in the voices of coffee farmers themselves, and shares the successes of creative projects that have been established to eliminate this annual period of food insecurity.

Brian Kimmel, Director Statement

Having spent the past few years working on films about sustainability and farming, it has been discouraging to learn about the growing number of farmers who are living on their land and hungry for months out of the year. As our food systems become more globalized, farmers have shifted away from small-scale, diversified agriculture to growing a single commodity crop for export. While perhaps more efficient, this shift has had a devastating impact on farmer’s ability to feed themselves and their families.

A striking example of this exists in coffee growing communities where farmers, even those growing high quality and certified coffees are not able to make enough money to feed their families year-round. So, when I was asked to make this documentary about the “thin months” a 3-8 month long season of hunger faced by coffee farmers, I was intrigued by the challenge. This story is widespread and commonly known among coffee farmers. Yet in the countries like mine where their coffee is consumed, it is relatively unknown. By providing a platform for these farmers to share their struggles and occasional success stories, my goal in making AFTER THE HARVEST is to both inform the audience about the scale of the problem and to inspire participation in solutions that are just now gaining ground.


Media That Matters 11,
Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivative Works


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